Development Opportunity on Front Street in Northern Liberties

As we've covered extensively, there's been a ton of development on Front Street in Northern Liberties of late. This is happening despite the fact that Front Street is more or less pinned between I-95 and Columbus Blvd., and is a testament to just how much people want to live in this neighborhood. Most recently, we looked at four homes that just broke ground at Front & Fairmount, just south of the bulk of the Front Street development. Across the street from that project, another possibility looms.

Row of old buildings

Closer look

It's certain that the buildings at 81-95 Fairmount Ave. predate the highway, and it seems likely that they're older than most of the other buildings in the neighborhood. If we had to guess, we'd imagine that these buildings were built to house workers from a nearby sawmill, or a coal yard, or some other kind of warehouse or factory. Most recently, it seems they were used as offices. These days, they seem vacant and blighted.

But there's (sort of) good news! The properties are currently for sale, along with three properties around the corner on Front Street.

Garages and lot are for sale too

Collectively, the properties are owned by Kaplan Groll, a real estate company that seems to do most of its business a little further from downtown. They're listing the properties for $3.75M. Granted, it seems highly unlikely that they'll be able to get someone to pay that price, and they're not currently advertising the properties in a particularly aggressive fashion, but the fact that they're listed for sale at all could indicate a willingness on the part of the owners to listen to offers. And if someone (maybe you!) steps forward with an offer that works for all sides, we could see these properties either redeveloped or demolished and replaced with something new.

It could take years for a buyer to appear, or it could take weeks. But with all of the development that's happened nearby in recent years, we'd say a sale is looking more likely today than it ever has.

Update: Read about the history of these buildings from an article in Hidden City from last year, written by our old friend GroJLart. Apparently, they date back to the 1830s and predate the industrial age. Wowza.

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