While Fishtown and East Kensington continue to fill in, development keeps pushing further and further north, with Lehigh Ave. forming a natural border to the neighborhoods to the north. At 2654 Coral St., right near the busy corner of Frankford & Lehigh, the building party continues at the site of a former surface parking lot. We actually covered this property back in 2014, when the Kensington Community Food Co-op was moving into the building next door. As you can see in the photos below, the co-op is still going strong, the parking lot is now a hole, and something exciting will soon rise in its place.

The view of the property from the co-op
A closer look at the start of foundation work
View looking east of the nearly finished Penn Reading apartments

What’s to come is yet another project from the team of Archive Development and Canno Design, this time with a 41-unit building. This five-story building will include ground floor commercial space, along with bike parking for 13 and zero car parking. The design is a modern take on traditional themes which Canno does so well, with brick and geometric fenestration being set off by the arched windows and slightly curved cornice line. The white brick – which is quickly becoming an Archive staple – wraps around the side facades and creates a striking contrast to the black color of the ground level. We only have one rendering thus far of what is being called Coral House, but we are very much liking what we see here.

A look across Coral at the site of the former parking lot

As this project continues to move forward, we can see other proposals at various stages close by. To the east, another project we recently visited is wrapping up on the other side of the gas station across the street. The Penn Reading, from Philly Capital Group and Ambit Architecture, will add another 21 units and more commercial space to the north end of East Kensington.

The Woods Brothers sign still stands on the still empty property

Just to the south of said gas station, the massive Woods Brothers lot is still waiting development. This property at 2621-67 Frankford Ave. has long had plans for a mixed-use development, with the most recent iteration coming from HDO Architecture and bringing 460 units and 120 parking spaces to this six-story proposal. No movement has been made as of yet, and current owners Grand Street Development seem to be marketing the site and the plans for sale.

An aerial shot of what the future could hold for the site

While 41 and 21 units are nice and all, tacking on another 460 to that total makes it clear how much these blocks could change in the coming years. Lehigh Ave. has long been a terrible stretch to drive on, and an even worse area to navigate by foot. Hopefully this influx of residents and the recently completed safety improvements will make this major arterial street a little less chaotic and a little more welcoming for the new folks in this quickly changing nook of the neighborhood.