It wasn’t so long ago that an enterprising manufacturer or artisan could easily and inexpensively set up shop in Fishtown, in one of many old industrial buildings scattered around the neighborhood. With the rapid gentrification of the neighborhood and the influx of retail to Frankford Avenue, this area has transitioned into a neighborhood where people want to live and work and hang out, and are willing to pay good money for the privilege. As a result, much of the latter day industry and many of the maker spaces have either ceased to exist or relocated to more remote and less expensive pastures. Frankford Avenue is dotted with examples of this phenomenon, from the recently demoed Bearing & Drive Solutions building on the 1300 block, to the former Penn Treaty Metals property on the 1400 block, to the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym turned apartments on the 1800 block.

There are also examples off of Frankford Avenue, with an upcoming project at 1408 E. Oxford St. likely to be the newest addition to the list. Years ago, this property was used by Oxford Dye Works Company, but it’s more recently been used by a business called Xynatech Manufacturing, a rotary conversion technology company. Bonus points to anyone who can tell us exactly what that is, by the way.

Looking up Oxford
View on Belgrade

The property has some lengthy frontage on Oxford Street and also extends to a section of Belgrade Street and both the building and the use made perfect sense at this location not too long ago. Today though, the land under the building is worth a ton of scratch, and so developers have the property under agreement with demolition on the immediate horizon. Next month, there’s a planned community meeting at which the developers will present plans to build a 42-unit apartment building with 34 parking spots and a rooftop swimming pool.

Despite the location just half a block off Frankford Avenue, the parcel is zoned for single-family use, which will necessitate approval from the ZBA. Given the location so close to the commercial corridor and the size of the parcel, which exceeds 10K sqft, we feel that the proposed use is sensible and hope that something like the proposal ends up getting approved. This being Fishtown, we imagine there will be quite a bit of discussion about the number of units and real or imagined potential parking issues, but we don’t live there, so bring on the density! The vibrancy of the commercial corridor will only increase as a result, further increasing the desirability of the neighborhood.