Remember just last week, when we told you about plans for six new homes at the corner where Jasper hits E. Cumberland Street? Somehow, when we were over there snapping pictures of the future development site and current overgrown lot, we totally missed the fact that there's a construction fence less than a block away at the large and seemingly vacant former mill building at 1821-45 E. Hagert St.
According to the Fishtown Star, the building has been around since 1882 and was originally used as the Albion Carpet Mill. Looking at some historic maps, we see that a company called Wimsel did business here in the 20th century, operating an ornament manufacturing company. Most recently, there was a tropical fish business in the basement- it's probably for the best that an aquatic business was here, as we have to imagine the basement's been getting pretty with every rainfall for quite some time. But not for long!
Over a year ago, developers presented plans to the community to renovate the building and convert it into a mostly residential property. At the time, the plans called for a coffee shop, apartments, and additional retail/creative space on the first floor, with 44 apartments on the upper floors. The proposal got unanimous support at the EKNA meeting, and from there the developers pursued a zoning change for the property. It seems that's come through, as the property now has many permits pulled which simply call for commercial use and nine apartments on the first floor and forty-four units on the upper floors. We're not sure whether the coffee shop and creative space are out of the picture, or whether the description of the project on the permits oversimplifies the plan.
With other projects in this area, we've remarked that new development so close to Kensington Avenue should beget more development close to Kensington Avenue. But all of those projects have been on the small side, with the most significant being the six-home proposal we mentioned above. This project, dubbed Albion Mills, along with the York Street Square project a few blocks away, are two massive projects that stand to change the face of East Kensington. Assuming success, is it unreasonable to think that we could start to see developers look on the other side of the El?