Remember last week, when we told you about the upcoming renovation of a former carpet mill on the 100 block of W. Huntingdon St. into apartments? That story provided another example (in a rapidly growing list of examples) of the way that increased development activity in South Kensington and East Kensington is pushing projects into areas that were heretofore considered suboptimal for market rate real estate development. Seeing our story, a reader directed our attention just a couple blocks away, to a pair of projects on Front Street which reinforce that narrative.
First, let’s look at 2435 N. Front St., a parcel that’s been sitting vacant for decades. Looking at historical maps and ownership information, we see that a Reformed Presbyterian Church stood on this property for about a century, ultimately getting demoed as the neighborhood declined. Saint Francis Inn, the ministry located around the corner, was planning a thrift store for the property a few years back, but that plan never came to fruition and developers bought it at the end of last year for $425K. Those developers have already broken ground on an apartment building which will have 18 units and 7 parking spots. Figure it’ll look a little different than the church once did.
Up the street is another project that’s quite a bit further along. On the 2500 block of N. Front St., developers are constructing a row of nine triplexes, some of which are already completed and occupied with renters. These properties were also sitting mostly vacant for a number of years, though some of them were used for a small surface parking lot. Historically, there were homes and apartments on these properties, so this is just a return to form.
The developers are taking a design approach with these triplexes that the original buildings didn’t, including a second entrance to the buildings below grade, providing exclusive ingress and egress for the bottom units. We wonder whether we’ll see this creative approach with other triplexes in other parts of town, but at this point we’d be crazy to wonder whether we’ll see more construction around these parts. It seems the cat’s out of the bag for this area, and you can book it that we’ll be covering more projects here moving forward.