It’s likely you’ve found yourself on or around American Street at some point, and perhaps you’ve noticed that it stops and starts on its way north-south, between 2nd and 3rd Streets. North of Girard Avenue, American Street takes on a very different character than it does in the rest of the city, widening considerably and accommodating numerous industrial uses along the way. The street eventually narrows and some homes start to pop up along the way, but industrial uses continue on American Street all the way up to Roosevelt Boulevard. It’s quite the industrial corridor, and this character has remained even as development has blossomed at its lower end, in South Kensington.
But there could be some change in the air, as development continues on both sides of the corridor. Just last month, we told you about Techadelphia, a mixed-use building under construction on the 1500 block of North American. Today, we look about a block to the north, to 219 Cecil B. Moore Ave., a property that sits at the northeast corner where N. American Street hits Cecil B. Moore Avenue. We actually covered this property once before, about a year and a half ago, at which point we weren’t entirely clear on what proposed for the property. Checking in on it today, we see nothing has happened as of yet.
When we last visited this property, we told you about two possible redevelopment plans and we weren’t sure which to expect. One plan called for a mixed-use building with 6 apartments and a retail space on the first floor, while the other plan referenced two retail spaces on the first floor and six commercial units (offices, probably), on the upper floors. But again, nothing has happened here yet, so the debate about which plan was actually going to happen has become rather academic. It’s also not so relevant anymore because a new plan has emerged for the property. Now, the owners have scrapped the commercial aspects of the project and are simply looking to build a 10-unit apartment building.
On the one hand, this seems to make some sense. Looking to the east, we see plenty of residential uses and this kind of project would be consistent with other projects we’ve seen in the neighborhood. On the other hand, the developers are proposing a strictly residential project on N. American Street.. In the past, we’ve seen the ZBA reject totally residential projects on N. American, with an eye toward maintaining industrial, or at least commercial, uses on the corridor. With keen interest, we’ll be interested in hearing what the ZBA has to say this time around.