A reader that works at Temple Hospital reached out to us recently, wondering about a building under construction on the east side of the 2400 block of N. Broad Street. We can forgive the question, since we last visited this project almost a year ago, shortly after ground breaking but before construction really got started in earnest. To refresh everybody's memory, we told you last year that Project HOME was planning an 88-unit affordable housing building at 2415 N. Broad St., on a large parcel that was half vacant land and half old warehouse. If you visit the property today, you can see that they've made some considerable progress.
View from the north
View from the south
Once the construction is finished, the building should look like this:
We've been spending lots of time in East Kensington lately, and for good reason. There's a ton of construction happening in the area right now, and there's even more on the horizon. You may remember, we told you a couple weeks ago about new homes planned for the 2100 blocks of Albert and Harold Streets, and it just so happens there's a zoning notice posted around the corner from this upcoming project. We were hopeful, when we saw the notice posted on a large empty lot on the 2600 block of Martha Street, that a sizable project was on the horizon.
Goes through to Collins St.
Doing a little more research, we found ourselves disappointed. The zoning notice only relates to 2654 Martha St., about 20% of the property, where developers have applied to subdivide the parcel into two lots. It follows that once the parcel is subdivided, the developers will build a pair of homes, and the vacant lot next door looks like it will remain vacant for the time being as it's owned by a different party. Bummer.
If you asked us even a year ago if we expected that the 2200 block of Cross would be humming with development, we would have responded with a resounding no. First, it's on the wrong side of Point Breeze Avenue. And aside from that, it's too far south!
But we would have been wrong. As we've seen, developers are now building west of Point Breeze Avenue, with a bunch of homes now under construction on the 2200 block of Wilder Street. And every time we think that development won't push further south in this neighborhood, it seems to push further south. We should really just stop being surprised by any development at any location in Point Breeze.
Looking east on the 2200 block of Cross Street
The construction on this block comes almost exclusively from one developer, V2 Properties. These guys are getting busy all over town it seems, and Point Breeze is no exception, as they've already done projects on the 1800 block Fernon Street and others. On this block, they're building homes at 2226, 2241 and 2253 Cross St., all of which were previously sitting vacant. Check out these new homes:
A reader reached out the other day, having noticed a sign advertising upcoming development on a chain link fence at the southeast corner of 6th & Tasker. 1601-1605 S. 6th St. has been sitting empty for a number of years, an unexpected vacancy on a block that's otherwise filled in.
Sign on the property
Looking east on Tasker Street
But this property won't be sitting empty for long! We looked online to investigate the permits, but we came up empty. Next, we called one of the phone numbers posted on the sign and were able to connect with a realtors for the project. We learned that the developers will be building three homes here, and that the homes will have frontage on 6th Street. Given the orientation of the sign, we sort of expected that they'd front Tasker but that would only allow enough room for two homes and building three homes is almost always more profitable than just building two. We also discovered that the project is still in the design phase and will have to go to the ZBA for a variance due to the fact that the lots are under 40' deep and building by-right would create homes that are way too shallow due to open area requirements. On the plus side, each lot is 20'-wide, so despite the fact that the homes will be shallower than most even with a variance, they'll still have plenty of space inside.
Just last week, we gave you an update on the elimination of a surface parking lot at 24 S. Front St. and the early stages of construction for nine townhomes. We were excited to get a better understanding of this project, having been uncertain about several details when we first covered the property back in October. As we said last week, US Construction is building nine homes with frontage on Black Horse Alley and a drive-aisle that travels from Front to Letitia Street. We still don't know whether the developer will follow their typical approach and rent out the homes for a time before selling them, but we'd have to think that they'd opt to sell them off right away, given the ritzy address. No pun intended.
View from last week
Seeing our story and the grainy rendering we cribbed from a sign on the property, the folks from JKRP Architects reached out to us and provided a clearer image and some additional visuals to give us a good idea of what we can expect when the project is completed. Check 'em out:
Francisville has grown by leaps and bounds in the last half decade, but some blocks in the neighborhood have remained in sad shape. Even Ridge Avenue, which has seen numerous new buildings sprout up in recent years, still has its share of blight and vacancy. A couple years ago, we drew your gaze to the 1400 block of Ogden Street which was notable in that it was almost entirely vacant, and wondered when someone would start redeveloping this block. We saw signs of life about a year ago, when developers had framed out a five-story building with three apartments and ground-floor parking at the southeast corner of 15th & Ogden. While the building has progressed considerably since then, it surprisingly doesn't appear to be totally done just yet.
SE corner of 15th & Ogden
But wait! What's that we see next door to the building!?! Could that be... construction?
Duplexes under construction next door
Holy smokes, that's exactly what it is. A developer picked up 1436 and 1440 Ogden St. back in 2012, but they took their sweet time with these properties. Now they're well on their way to building a pair of duplexes. Will the units be offered for sale? For rent? Who knows.
We've seen development spread from Fishtown through East Kensington in recent years, with the construction generally spreading northward from Amber to Coral, to Emerald, to Jasper Street. Amber Street has been largely redeveloped at this point, but Jasper Street still has a long way to go. And this makes sense, as Amber Street is closer to Fishtown, while Jasper Street is closer to Kensington Avenue. Pretty self explanatory, actually.
So you can imagine our surprise today, as we were heading down Kensington Avenue after chasing down a story in Harrowgate, and we noticed a pair of new looking homes on the 1800 block of E. Oakdale Street, a block that's pretty much the northern tip of the neighborhood. Aside from these two new homes, this block hasn't gotten much love of late, and there are roughly as many vacant lots as there are residences.
Buildings were sitting blighted and vacant for many years at 966 N. 2nd St., but developers purchased the property and tore down the buildings in the summer of 2015. Shortly after, we told you about plans to build a mixed-use building here, with underground parking, retail on the first floor, and 13 apartments. Looking today at the permits, we see the building will have animal services in that retail space, but we don't know whether that means doggie daycare, a vet, or something else. We'd have thought that the building would have made more progress by now, but you can see that the workers on the site are only now getting beyond underground work. The good news is that the project is finally moving and we expect it'll be done sometime later this year.
We were excited to tell you, a few months ago, that a new fence had appeared around a surface parking lot on Front Street in Old City and that developers were planning to shut down the parking lot and replace it with a nine unit building. At the time, we were a little short of details, and we didn't know whether the project would entail a condo building or a row of 9 townhomes. Checking in on the property today, we see that many of our questions have been answered.
Current view from Front Street
Foundations on Letitia Street
Looking at the row of new foundations on Letitia Street, we can now safely assume that the project at 24 S. Front St. will mean a row of townhomes. This parcel is unique in that it has frontage on one wide street, one narrow street, and one hilariously skinny street, in Front Street, Letitia Street, and Black Horse Alley, respectively. As a result, the developers will be able to have frontage and windows for the homes on the north side, even though they'll be very close to the apartment building next door.