North American Street is a bit of a challenging corridor, clinging to its industrial character while surrounded on both sides by residential development pressure. The improvements to the surrounding neighborhood have driven up land values on N. American St., but the zoning remains industrial, creating redevelopment difficulties for anyone that wants to do a project that isn’t by-right. Techadelphia, the mixed-use project under construction on the 1500 block, likely got approval because of the sizable co-working space on the first floor and in the basement. A much smaller project across the street at 1500 N. American St. got approval a couple years ago for a first floor art gallery and an apartment upstairs. We were pleased about that project, as it was replacing an ugly one-story garage.
Somewhere along the way, the project at 1500 N. American St. changed a bit. The residential unit count has grown to four, and the art gallery has shifted to a show room and office for Solar States, a solar company that already operates out of the building next door. As you might expect from a building that will house a solar business, this project will have a significant solar component. Look for a 40 panel solar array on the roof, with 10 panels per residential unit. With an expected 4,000 KWh per unit per year, the solar panels will cover most of the annual electric costs for the residents of the building.
In light of the solar energy aspect, the developers are calling the project ‘The Joule,’ hence our terrible pun in the title of this post. For those that don’t remember high school science class, one Joule is equal to the work done by the force of one newton when its point of application moves one meter in the direction of action of the force. Of course, if you’re like us, you probably could have recited that from memory and definitely didn’t need help from us or Wikipedia.
The residential units will each have 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and will range in size from just under 1,000 sqft to just under 1,300 sqft. They’ll be offered as condos, and it should be interesting to see what kind of prices the developers are able to get at this location. Surely, the unique look to the building and the solar power perks will be strong selling points. Having Crane Arts next door and Reanimator Coffee a block away won’t hurt either.