If you’ve grabbed a coffee at La Colombe on Frankford Avenue at any point in the last year or so, you’ve probably noticed a construction site directly across the street. This project, at 1324 Frankford Ave. has meant the demolition of a longstanding industrial building which was most recently home to BDS Bearing and Drive Solutions, and the construction of a new mixed-use building. This building will include 50 apartments over retail space, and with the scaffolding coming off the building just a few days ago, we have to say the new building is looking pretty sharp.

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New building on Frankford Avenue

This new building sits on a sizable parcel which covers over 18K sqft and currently has an oversized rear yard which has frontage onto little Lee Street. As you might expect, this won’t remain open, and could be developed in a couple different ways. By right, the developers could build half a dozen townhomes with parking. Alternately, with a zoning variance, a small apartment building would also work here.

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Back of the building
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View on Lee Street

The developer is attempting the latter approach currently, with a proposal for a four-story building with ground floor retail and 21 units on the upper floors. While a retail space might seem like an odd choice on this narrow street, which seems like it’s mostly warehouses and the backs of buildings, we believe that Lee Street indeed possesses some commercial potential. It’s just a few steps away from the top notch Frankford Avenue, And let’s not forget, Pizzeria Beddia is located on this very block, and they seem to be doing about as well as any restaurant could be doing in the middle of COVID times.

Check out these renderings from JKRP Architects, to give a sense of what type of building could be appearing here.

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Overhead rendering
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Project rendering
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View from the other direction

The project will come before the community tonight, after which it will need the blessing of the ZBA before it can move forward. If the neighborhood gets behind the proposal, then Frankford Avenue could receive another shot of density with the added benefit of a desirable new construction retail space just around the corner. If not, look for some townhomes instead. Either way, this big empty space will soon be filled in, one way or another.

Disclosure: This project is being developed by an affiliate of OCF Realty, parent company of Naked Philly