While we recently swung by the corner of N. Front St. & Cecil B. Moore for a video check-in on the construction progress at the intersection, we thought it was high time for a written update, since it’s been about a year-and-a-half. Home to the beloved International Bar, Fishtown Plaza now sits proudly in its yellow glory in what was before an absurdly wide stretch of road. But not only is this plaza complete, two huge projects on their respective homestretches have totally altered the view here.

Front And Cecil B 2018
Looking east towards N. Front & Cecil B. Moore from 2018
Front And Cecil B 2024
A remarkably different view today

While it is difficult to tell from the photo above, those are indeed two projects across from one another, with the El tracks dividing them. Starting with the nearest one at 1700 N. Front St., the five-story, 204-unit Urby is really coming together. This block-long project is broken up by large cut-outs, with the final shape becoming clearer as construction plows ahead. It was difficult to tell from the renderings, but much of the exterior – including along the ground-level – will consist of brown brick, with muted blue and green paneling forming what amounts to prominent accent walls. And that’s fine with us, as the visualizations of NORR‘s design looked rather flat, so this is one of extremely rare those instances where reality is actually much better than the rendering. Parking for 70 bicycles and zero cars (we see you, transit-oriented development), along with over 16K sqft of retail space will round out the offerings here.

1700-00 OLD
The view from the north side of the property at Front & Palmer in 2021
The same view today, now five-stories of bricks and windows
The current view of the south side, from Cecil B. Moore
A rendering shows what the final look will be
A look at the courtyard along N. Front St.
A rendering shows a landscaped, bustling spot
An aerial rendering gives a clearer view of the full project

As if that wasn’t enough change for the block, 1701 N. Front St. just across the street is just as different. Formerly a low-rise building and the parking lot for the Box Factory lofts just next door, an eight-story, 70-unit apartment building is now at full height. Another contemporary addition for the corner, this design from SITIO features dramatic, V-shaped steel beams, along with a small retail space on the corner. This one is at a similar spot construction-wise as its neighbor, with windows in and facade work in full swing. Parking for 10 cars is also included, with the project’s 7-to-1 unit-to-spot ratio feeling pretty transit-friendly, too.

1701-00 OLD
The NE corner of Front & Columbia in 2021, still a low-rise and parking
The view today teases a much different scene
Brick is up on the topped-out, eight-story structure
A rendering from the same spot helps us imagine the future - with trees!
A closer look at the V-shaped steelwork, with the El's steel just behind

So, 270+ units for one intersection, with another 55 more potentially underway just steps to the north. We are, as they say, here for it. Packing this many units along such a burgeoning stretch that has fantastic transit connectivity is just what the doctor ordered. For these to be replacing only one small building and plenty of surface parking is just a wonderful bonus. We’d imagine that International Bar and all of the amazing spots just minutes away won’t mind several hundred more folks joining the fold here. Just be sure to grab your spot in the plaza early on the first warm, post-Daylight Saving evening, as it may soon be one of the hottest spots in the entire darn city.