The Northbank project is located at 2001 Beach St., and as we’ve told you before, it’s one of the largest private residential developments in Philadelphia history. The property covers roughly 30 acres of Delaware waterfront, and though it’s technically located inside of Fishtown’s neighborhood boundaries, its size and location on the other side of I-95 and Delaware Ave. make it feel like a neighborhood that’s being created from whole cloth. When we last checked in on the development back in April, we found an active construction site, and we discovered the same thing, just with more stuff finished, when we stopped by earlier this week.

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These units are mostly done
Much more construction to come

We confess, we were initially skeptical of this project due to its location. Fishtown is a very desirable neighborhood these days, with the vibrant Frankford Avenue commercial corridor as its centerpiece and heartbeat. But the edge of this site is almost a mile away from Frankford Avenue as the crow flies, so that corridor isn’t terribly walkable for the closest folks that will live at Northbank, let alone the folks who live deeper in the development. The East Girard corridor is more accessible, and the shopping centers on Aramingo Avenue are even closer, but getting to either on foot requires crossing Delaware Ave. and crossing under I-95, right near some very active onramps and offramps. It made sense to us, then, that the initial plans for Northbank called for a mix of townhomes, duplexes, and apartment buildings, some of which would include retail space targeting Northbank residents.

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Original plan, we think

The plans for four apartment buildings changed pretty quickly, with the number cut in half and then cut in half again by the beginning of this year. Now, it seems, the apartment buildings have been completely eliminated from the project, making room for more homes and duplexes.

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Cutting back to two apartment buildings
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Oop, just one apartment building
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Make that no apartment buildings

The new stats on the project are 387 homes and 52 duplexes. The original plans called for 248 units across homes and duplexes and 848 apartments. That is serious pivot in terms of plans for the site, dropping the density by more than 50%. We should mention, about a quarter of the homes in the new plan are projected to be offered as rentals, so some rental component is still possibly in play, but given the changes we’ve seen to this project over time, it wouldn’t come as a shock to see all the units offered for sale in the end. With sale prices as low as $500K and topping seven figures on the high end, plus a remarkable number of units currently under contract, we can certainly see how that could eventually be in the cards.

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Future phase could include an apartment building

Even with the size of this development, we wouldn’t typically make a return visit so soon after our last story. But we bring Northbank back to your attention today because an upcoming Civic Design Review presentation has shown us something that we didn’t know about before – Northbank is gonna be even bigger than previously advertised. If you look at the image above, you can see additional homes and an apartment building on a swath of land to the west of the existing project. Perhaps this was always the plan, but this is the first we’re seeing of any master planning for this section of the property.

Figure we’ll get some additional details on the additional Northbank phase in the coming months, and we also feel comfortable predicting that the plans for the site will remain subject to change, like the rest of the project to date. As if the success of the project to date wasn’t enough to rebut our skepticism of the project, the new section of the plan further drives home the point that Northbank is a huge success story, even as it still has years of construction in front of it. Turns out that Concordia Group, D3 Developers, and Toll Brothers all know exactly what they’re doing, as they collectively remake this huge portion of the Delaware waterfront.