A Colossal Change for a Tiny Intersection in East Kensington

East Kensington is experiencing a development renaissance in recent years, with old industrial buildings and vacant lots turning over left and right. Back in January, we stopped by to check out a potential project in the area and were frankly overwhelmed by how much was happening in the neighborhood. After seeing a minor zoning update pop up on our radar in the past week, we decided it was high time to head back and check on how things are progressing. Today, we are going to focus on five different projects that are taking place near the intersection of E. Boston St. & Jasper St., currently at the center of a building boom.

An aerial from the recent past shows the five projects highlighted

We start our journey at 1929 E. York St. and 1924 E. Hagert St., two properties that were sitting vacant for years, where a couple sizable projects are now well underway. We first told you about these projects back in 2019, when plans changed significantly, possibly due to the area being in a Federal Opportunity Zone. The projects, designed by JKRP Architects, will bring 248 apartments, 31 artist studios, and 65 underground parking spots across two buildings. Construction hadn’t yet started back in 2019, but as you can see, the two projects are moving along nicely.

Rendering of what's planned at 1924 E. Hagert St.
The current view looking rather similar to the rendering, but with the colors reversed
Rendering of 1929 E. York St.
The current view, getting closer to completion
View from Emerald & E. Hagert shows how close the two projects are

Just to the north is 1901 E. York St., where LRK Architects have a throw-back industrial design planned. Plans call for 136 apartments, over 6K sqft of studio space, along with 28 parking spaces. This project is not quite as far along as the others, but if it looks anything like the renderings, it will be a very nice addition to the more contemporary look of its southern neighbors.

Rendering of 1901 from E. Emerald & Boston
Current view from the same corner
Another rendering shows off the industrial-inspired design

Continuing north, we come to 1817 E. York St., where yet a large project has recently wrapped up. Once again artists studios are included in this project (thanks, IRMX zoning!), which will include 106 units along with 33 parking spaces. This one – now called The Mill at York Station – looks like it’s completed, and while the massing is identical to the plans, this got a modern, cooler color palette in place of the previously proposed faux-wood panels.

Rendering of 1817 E. York St.
Current view shows the updated color choices

Finally, at the northern end of our journey is 1810 E. Hagert St., also known as the former home to Comly Auctioneers. This project is the adaptive reuse of the group, as the former Comly building is receiving an overbuild and an addition. This one is also well underway, featuring a design from SgRA that includes more studio space and 139 apartment units on the upper floors. We told you about this project back in April 2021, and we are pleased to see plenty of work happening now on-site.

A rendering shows the new construction and overbuild of the existing building
Plenty of progress for this adaptive reuse
A closer shot of the existing structure
Aerial shows the full layout of the new building

For those keeping score at home, that’s 629 units, 126 parking spaces and loads of studio spaces for just these five projects. Zoom out just a bit and those numbers are even larger, meaning perhaps a thousand new residents could be living here in the next couple years. To say that will completely change this area is a bit of an understatement; the mass of people joining the neighborhood should lead to an uptick in retail and commercial options in the neighborhood, while encouraging further development. We have a funny feeling that the York-Dauphin Station on the El, just a short walk away, will be much more crowded soon enough, as these projects and others continue to come online in the coming years.