When you walk on Front Street south of Girard, are you in Northern Liberties or Fishtown? For this little stretch, we would argue that it would depend on which side of the street you’re on, with Fishtown to the east and NoLibs to the west. But there sure is plenty happening on both sides of the El tracks. Let’s zoom in on the project at 1108 N. Front St. to check things out in the area.

We last brough the property at 1108 N. Front St. to your attention back in July 2013. To provide some additional context to how long ago that was, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley were still patrolling the middle of the Phillies infield back then, so you might be surprised to learn that this lot was still sitting empty up until very recently. As you can see below, it is empty no longer as work begins to get underway.

The current view of 1108 N. Front St., allllll the way from Fishtown
View of 1108 way back in 2007
View of future streetscape, sans commercial space
Signs of progress back in Summer 2013

Developers U.S. Construction are bringing us a 49-unit building designed by BLT Architects. Plans have shifted a bit recently, as a no-longer-available zoning document indicated an increase in unit count from 47 to 49, but sadly this was at the expense of a height reduction from 84 ft. to 68 ft., along with the removal of the commercial space. We aren’t positive if this will remain the case, as the zoning document is now in administrative review, but we sure hope Front Street gets some more commercial traction under the tracks. Let’s check out the design for the west side of the street.

A closer look at the cleared site, looking ready to roll
An aerial at dawn shows the building, likely at its previous height
The future view looking south down Front
Rooftop views

Jumping to the east side of Front and into Fishtown, another project at 1141 N. Front St. is a bit further along. It was back in early 2020 when we were here last, when renderings dropped for the Magnet by developers Callahan Ward. What was then an empty lot is now a 43-unit building, and it looks like a second phase is well under way. With Heavy Hitters Thai Boxing in the ground floor commercial space of phase 1, phase 2 will bring 47 units and some additional commercial space. Let’s check out the current progress and the renderings from architects ISA of what’s in store.

First phase of the Magnet is complete and providing a pop of color
Current view of The Magnet, Part II
View of the site for our last visit back in 2020
Rendering of the first phase
An older rendering of both phases, with an all-gray color scheme

Quite an improvement for this formerly empty stretch, isn’t it? This area wasn’t exactly the most pleasant to walk around in the recent past, but the activation of this part of Front Street sure is exciting. These two projects help tie together two neighborhoods, and don’t forget, both neighborhoods are seeing their connection improve to the nearby waterfront as new projects will allow for additional access points to the Delaware. With Piazza Alta rising just steps away and several other projects coming online soon nearby, this area will be teeming with new residents in the near future.