In Fishtown, the 1300 block of E. Berks Street runs between Belgrade and E. Thompson Street, just a couple of blocks from Girard. A microcosm of Fishtown development, it’s a block where contemporary homes are mixed-in with traditional brick row homes. Some newer buildings on the block include 1315 and 1317 E. Berks St., as well as the mixed-use building at the end of the block that contains Whipped Bakeshop.

Looking up the block

Another example is the currently under construction 1339 E. Berks St., where a three-story single family home with a garage is now being built. According to public record, V2 Properties LLC purchased this formerly vacant lot for $112K earlier this year. Permits issued in August 2012 indicate plans designed by Harman Deutsch including a first-floor garage and roof deck. Meanwhile, there are also plans for the now vacant lot next door at 1337 Berks St. for a three-story single family home, also with a roof deck. That property was acquired for $79K in October 2012. Check out the home that used to be there. Kind of hoping the new one takes at least a little inspiration from it.

In the past

New building going up next to now-vacant lot

“It does bother us a little bit,” said Matt Karp, Fishtown Neighbors Association (FNA) zoning chair, about the project. That’s because when developers presented a proposal for a duplex in January 2012, FNA voted it down. Apparently the developers opted for a single family home, and got a variance for the garage from the ZBA. While the garage snuck through, it seems that FNA is having success mitigating unwanted density. For example, a proposal presented a few months ago to turn one parcel on this block at 1318 Berks Street into a triplex was voted down. So while demand continues to exist in the neighborhood, the community keeps its watchful eye on development.

No thanks to a triplex here

–Lou Mancinelli