We’ve had a good run lately of stopping by paused proposal sites and having them magically move forward soon after. Let’s add 1212-16 Delaware Ave. to the mix, after we stopped by here when admiring the potential around a project immediately to the south. Sitting on a little sliver of land between I-95 and Penn Treaty Park, this site saw a 48-unit proposal come and go in the past, and our recent visit found the site showing no signs of anything imminent.
But thanks to a Fishtown Neighbors Association zoning meeting last week (which showed major opposition to the proposed food truck ban along Girard Ave.), we know there are even bigger plans here, which also include a surprise addition. A 62-unit, seven-story apartment building from Philly Capital Group is planned for the property, with 11 parking spaces to be included in the garage that’s catty-corner to the future structure, which will include two additional car parking spaces. 52 bike spaces will be included across the buildings, with a commercial space anchoring the ground floor of the new structure. A public plaza will sit adjacent to the retail space, with the lobby entry facing E. Allen St. to the north. Four ground-level units will have direct access via N. Delaware Ave., where an additional residential entrance will allow for a free flow of future Fishtown folks.
While we appreciate the site plan and the mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units (along with the minimum parking inclusion), our favorite part of this Gnome Architects design is the design itself. The look here is striking, with the rounded western corner and protruding fin creating an impactful form that immediately stood out for its bold approach. The ground-level brick goes up several stories to mimic the surrounding rowhomes, while the metal paneling disintegrates into an ombre design as it reaches its full height. Subtle vertical elements in both the brick and the paneling create a visual interest no matter your approach angle.
While we aren’t enamored with the paneling approach, just about everything else here is spot on. The minimal parking close to transit, the use of brick on the lower levels, the novel design that doesn’t scream of a gimmick – all wonderful features for what seems like a strong proposal. Oh, and this proposal is by right, so no zoning issues should muck up the works, and a Civic Design Review submission was posted for next month’s meeting.
This project is somewhat of a milestone in our eyes from a geographical perspective. Sitting close to the large 95 overpass, this is the last of the large developable parcels on this side of Delaware Ave. basically until you reach Spring Garden St. – yes, street wall dreams do come true. Heading northeast, there’s nothing possible to build on along this thoroughfare until well into Port Richmond. Does this mean we’ve reached development capacity? Absolutely not! There are still properties awaiting development right next to Penn Treaty Park, along with plenty of other large parcels further to the south along the river. In the meantime, we hope we’ll see this quality addition rising sometime very, very soon.