When carpenter Daniel McClellan bought the old warehouse at 4 E. Palmer St. back in 2001, Fishtown was a very different place than it is today. The neighborhood was still working class, and most of the people that lived there had deep roots in the community. Frankford Avenue was a sleepy local corridor, with a mix of vacant lots, old industrial buildings, and established local businesses. Frankford Hall was still a number of years away, ditto just about all the other bars and restaurants that come to mind when you think of Fishtown. Johnny Brendas was around, but it was still a beer and a shot place that catered to longtime residents.
To say that things have changed in the neighborhood would be a massive understatement. New residents have flooded Fishtown over the last decade, as new homes and new apartment buildings have appeared on almost every block. Frankford Avenue is one of the most vibrant commercial corridors in Philadelphia, boasting an enviable collection of stores, restaurants, and drinking establishments. The momentum in the neighborhood can’t be contained by its boundaries, as surrounding areas have also experienced overflow development. Even Forbes felt compelled to write a clumsy missive about the neighborhood and how hot it is. If you’ve been a semi-conscious resident of this town for the last few years, it’s not required reading.
This brings us back to Mr. McCllellan and his warehouse on Palmer Street. He bought the 5,000+ sqft building almost two decades ago, paying under $100K. Over the years, he’s operated his carpentry and custom furniture business, DMC Cabinetry, out of this address. With all the changes to the area, a large property just a few steps off Frankford Ave. isn’t really seeing its highest and best use as a carpentry business, so it should come as no surprise that there’s a ‘For Sale’ sign on the building.
We reached out to the owner and learned that the property is already under agreement with a developer. Given the CMX-2 zoning, we expect to see the old garage torn down, and a mixed-use building go up in its place. Figure on over a dozen units, given the size of the parcel. And with such close proximity to the El, the area can certainly handle the density.
In theory, the new residents in whatever building gets built here could park in the large parking lot next door. But as we told you three years ago, the lot at 1716 Frankford Ave. is not currently in use as a surface parking lot. Back then, a chain link fence had gone up around the lot, and we were hopeful that development would soon follow. Alas, as you can see, the sizable property is still sitting empty. On the plus side, we can continue to enjoy an amazing fish mural. Conversely, this parcel is practically begging to get redeveloped and could potentially add some unusually large retail space to the Frankford Avenue corridor. Maybe next year?