Small Time Construction on Lehigh Avenue

We've increasingly found ourselves commenting on the spread of East Kensington development toward Lehigh Avenue over the last year or so, just as we've started traveling more frequently across Lehigh to report on projects in Port Richmond. With more and more projects getting closer and closer to Lehigh Avenue, it didn't feel like such a surprise a few months ago, when we told you about Avenue 30, a thirty-home development from the Riverwards Group with some frontage on Lehigh near Frankford Avenue. Soon after, we wondered about a pair of large parcels on Lehigh Avenue, considering the possibility that developers would build hundreds of additional units on this wide border street.

We've been thinking big on Lehigh, looking at a large project that's coming down the pike and speculating about even larger projects on the horizon. But today we're going to look at a pair of projects that are pretty much as small as it gets and are actually underway right now. First, let's look at 2216 E. Lehigh Ave., a property that's only a few steps from the Jacquins Distillery and has been sitting vacant for at least a decade. A developer bought that property about a year and a half ago, and now they're building a new home.

Jacquins Distillery at Lehigh & Trenton

Construction fence at 2216 E. Lehigh Ave.

Just on the other side of Tulip Street, 2308 E. Lehigh Ave. has been sitting empty for a long time too. Developers bought that one about a year ago and are building a triplex here. For some reason, the 2300 block is zoned for multi-family use and the 2200 block is zoned for single-family homes. Given the view across the street, we'd think that apartments would make the most sense for just about any property on Lehigh, but what do we know.

Another fence on the other side of Tulip Street

The view across the street

The fact that large developers are working on major projects on or close to Lehigh Avenue is encouraging, showing that big dollars are flowing into the edges of East Kensington. As those big guys fill in the large gaps in the neighborhood, smaller developers are filling in the little gaps, which is also an important aspect of the redevelopment of the area. Along with the new construction, we can see that several buildings on Lehigh have gotten rehabbed of late, and we expect that to continue as additional development takes place nearby. Unfortunately, the train tracks will probably always prevent this from being as desirable as other sections of East Kensington, but that's okay. With the tracks here to stay, we'd think that the elimination of the scrap yards nearby would suffice as neighborhood improvement for many of the people now living around Lehigh Avenue or planning to move here in the future.