Will N. 3rd Street Lose Another Old Industrial Building?

Perhaps you recall, at the end of 2016, we told you that developers were planning to demolish the Cristalvetro Glass building at 1143 N. 3rd St., with the intention of building a five-story, 26-unit apartment building with industrial uses in the basement and on the first floor. After the developers made some some tweaks at the request of NLNA, they got approval from the ZBA a little over a year ago. Construction hasn’t yet begun for this project, but the old industrial building has been torn down in preparation. With the building now gone, you can really get an appreciation for how much space it previously took up and just how sizable its replacement will feel once it gets built.

In the past
Current view

A reader reached out to us recently, wondering about the building next door. The old garage at 1139 N. 3rd St. has been home to a second hand furniture and housewares operation for as long as we can remember, and back in the day it was used as a sheet metal shop. As you’re probably well aware, Northern Liberties once possessed a strong industrial character, so that kind of business made sense at this location. As the years have rolled along and gentrification has continued, industrial businesses and industrial buildings have become increasingly scarce in the neighborhood. That’s why an orange sign on the building, possibly portending redevelopment, caught the attention of a near neighbor.

Orange notice on the building next door

We took a peek at City records to get a sense of what’s going on, and found no active permits for the property. Further, the property hasn’t been listed for sale, as far as we can tell, since it was last sold back in 1996. So what’s with the sign on the building? Upon closer examination, it’s not a zoning notice, like we first believed. Instead, it’s a notice from the City that references a couple of active violations on the property for some structural deficiencies.

We’re not engineers, so we couldn’t tell you whether those problems are easily repairable or might instead result in the building’s demolition. If it’s the former situation, it’s probably safe to assume that the building will continue to function as it has for as long as the owners are so inclined. If it’s the latter situation though, we can imagine a scenario in which the property could get listed for sale, demoed, and redeveloped in a manner similar to the property next door. So for now, file this in the category of nothing doing. But that could certainly change at any time.