A couple of months ago, we told you about plans for the Soko Lofts, a rather large mixed-use development planned for a 2.5 acre site at 2nd & Thompson. That project, as last detailed, will include 311 residential units, 4-6 retail spaces, about a hundred parking spaces, and a Piazza-like courtyard for the development’s residents. At a community meeting, some residents expressed concern that such an influx of new residents could be a negative, changing the character of the neighborhood. If you’re reading this and happen to be of that opinion, you might just want to find some other site to visit, ’cause you ain’t gonna like what’s coming next.

At another South Kensington community meeting a couple of weeks ago, Blackstone Development presented plans for Liberty Square, another large, mixed-use, Piazza-like project located pretty much next to the Soko Lofts. The horror!!!

Current view

Another current shot. Flats at Girard Pointe on the right

None of this will be missed

Site plan. Soko Lofts is planned for the lot to the northeast

According to City Paper, this development will include 247 residential units, several commercial spaces, and 161 parking spaces underground. There will also be a space set aside for storage of up to 75 bicycles. There will, again, be an interior courtyard featured in this project, echoing the Piazza just a couple of blocks away. Residential units are planned for the top five floors, with mostly one-bedrooms, a smattering of two-bedrooms, and a handful of three-bedrooms thrown in there.

Ground floor plan shows commercial on Germantown, a lobby on Thompson, and live/work spaces on N. American

Sample mix of apartment units

The project design work is being done by Harman Deutsch, who have done a pretty good job designing these contemporary buildings, which will be built in three phases. Provided the developers receive necessary approvals, completion is expected in 2016. The first residents, however, will move in far sooner. And hopefully some of the businesses will already be operational as well.

Germantown Ave. elevation

Stiles St. elevation. Note that a few existing homes will remain while the project rises around them.

North American Street elevation

Thompson Street elevation

Surely, this project will elicit some of the same concerns as Soko Lofts from neighbors. We’d guess that people are worried about added density, new neighbors, renters, tall buildings, parking (c’mon!), traffic, noise, etc etc etc. But on the other hand, what other types of projects can realistically fill these giant vacant former industrial lots? With such close proximity to Northern Liberties, Fishtown, and public transportation, this is an extremely desirable area for people to live, and it only makes sense to build up when you have such an attractive location. On a lot like this at a location like this, building a few dozen single family homes just doesn’t cut it. We’d guess that Blackstone and the community will come together a couple more times to hammer out some additional compromises to assuage neighborhood concerns, and that this thing will be breaking ground in the very near future.

Quite frankly, we can’t wait to see it go up.