What to Make of a Foundation at Front & Diamond?

Fishtown is a highly desirable neighborhood with one of the best commercial corridors in town. South Kensington has seen a dramatic spike in developer interest over the last several years, with projects large and small filling gaps throughout the neighborhood. Front Street is the border between these neighborhoods, and despite the fact that the El rumbles up and down the elevated tracks all day every day, this corridor has also seen a tremendous amount of development activity in the recent past. We’ve seen a few new businesses open in existing buildings, and also a shocking number of new construction projects, including mixed-use and purely residential buildings.

As you head north on Front Street, Fishtown and South Kensington fade away and Norris Square and East Kensington take over on either side. Those neighborhoods are more desirable than they were before, but don’t possess nearly as much desirability as their southern neighbors. As such, there’s less action on Front Street, moving north. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any projects. Take, for example, the southwest corner of Front & Diamond, which has been sitting vacant for over a decade. Please note in the photo below, there’s a new foundation at this site.

New foundation

Developers bought the property last year and consolidated four lots to create a large corner property. These developers are now pursuing a plan to build a five-story building with retail on the first floor and 17 apartments on the floors above. But that’s not all! The same group owns another property just to the south and have plans for another five-story mixed-use building, this time with 22 apartments. Check out some in process renderings, from CANNO Design. The fact that the El is missing from the renderings makes it pretty tough to figure out the location, if you didn’t already know the address.

At the corner
Clearer view of the southern building

We struggle to comprehend all this density on Front Street, as it’s totally impossible to block out the sound of the trains rolling by every few minutes. Then again, as we said before, there have been well over a hundred new units that have appeared along Front Street over the last several years, so people are obviously willing to ignore the noise of the El in favor of the location and the convenience of access to public transportation. This particular location has one more complicating factor, a methadone clinic right across the street. While that could certainly depress interest from potential residential or retail tenants, we don’t think it will ultimately have a material impact on how quickly they’ll be able to lease out space in the building.