If we may generalize, many people find comfort in familiar brands. It’s reassuring to get the same Starbucks iced coffee in Philadelphia and Los Angeles (you know, if Starbucks is your thing). If you still do your banking in person, it’s convenient that you can walk into a Wells Fargo or a PNC Bank in most major US cities. When picking a hotel, you pretty much know what you’re going to get if you book a room in a Hampton Inn.
It’s that last bit that bothered Courtney and Chad Ludeman, the power couple behind Postgreen Homes. When you stay at a Hampton Inn, you know you’ll get strong air conditioning, an average continental breakfast, and a room that’s absolutely bereft of character or flair. Frustrated by that experience at hotel after hotel, and perhaps emboldened by the more flexible nature of hospitality in the age of Airbnb, the couple decided to open their own hotel in Old City.
They opened the design driven Lokal Hotel at 139 N. 3rd St. earlier this year, offering half a dozen rooms and a curated experience through something called “invisible service.” Each room includes an iPad loaded with apps to make a guest’s stay more enjoyable, as well as a Philadelphia manual with various recommendations to take the guesswork out of where to go and what to do. Combine that with Airbnb-style check-in and check-out and nightly rates starting in the $200 range, and it seems like a winning concept.
And that must be the case, because they’re already working on Lokal Hotel numero dos. This location will differ from the original in that it will be ground up construction rather than a renovation of an existing historic building. As for the location, 1421 N. Front St. is quite a shift from Old City, but given all the development we’ve seen on Front Street in the last few years and the proximity to Frankford Avenue, it really starts to make sense. Oh, and having W.M. Mulherin’s Sons and Good Spoon at the end of the block makes the location all the more attractive.
KJO Architecture is doing the design work for this project, and based on this elevations drawing, you can see a much more contemporary building is in store, compared to the first Lokal Hotel. According to Chad Ludeman, the materials aren’t yet finalized for the facade, but this should give you a good idea of what’s to come. Ludeman also indicated that he will be working with various makers in Fishtown to create unique apartment-style units in this building.
You may not realize it, but there’s already a hotel in this immediate area, atop W.M. Mulherin’s Sons. And of course, there’s the larger boutique hotel planned for the Arctic Storage building that will likely happen eventually and will fully bring Fishtown into the hospitality industry. In the meantime though, people will have to “settle” for two very unique hotels on Front Street. Somehow, we think we’ll all find a way to survive.