One Hour, Eight Miles, and 5,758 Units, Part 4: Lower Fishtown

After stopping by the massive Piazza Alta site to continue our charge of development site visits, let’s explore the very southeastern corner of Fishtown. Here’s that handy-dandy map again, to get a rough idea of what we’re talking about.

A look at the areas we covered on our development adventure

South of Girard Ave. can sometimes get lost in the shuffle, but with the amount of construction of all types, we have a feeling that will change very, very soon. Projects of all sizes and varieties are going up, from ultra-modern infill apartments to grand, classic mixed-use projects.

Today, we start our trip on Front St. before winding back down Frankford Ave. towards the river.

An aerial rendering of 1108 N. Front St., next to the MFL tracks

At 1108 N. Front St., 49 units are coming to the site that we checked out last August, when site prep was just getting started. U.S. Construction is the developer, with BLT Architects bringing us a contemporary project along this narrow lot. Construction has made substantial progress since then, with the elevator tower giving an idea of the height to expect in the future for this residential-only property.

1141 N. Front St. in gray, showing the final two part project

Another project we covered previously, 1141 N. Front St. is now well above ground after being nothing more than steel framing at our last visit. Callahan Ward is working with ISA on phase two of this project, which is adding 47 units to the 43 from phase one. Ground floor retail will also be included in this second phase, so there will be an influx of action along this section of the El tracks sooner than later.

An intriguing modern design will take up the obtuse corner

For our next stop, we cheated a bit and just barely jumped Girard Ave. to check up on a cool infill project squeezing into the streetscape. At 17 W. Girard Ave., four very modern units are filling the space where a rowhome once stood. Steel is now up after demo was just getting started when we visited last April, showing off the massing for this curvy design coming to us from Gnome Architects. Look for even more commercial space along the ground floor here as well.

The former bank at Frankford & Girard, with a rendering of its new addition

Making our way back south again, the former bank at Girard & Frankford is getting a new wrap-around neighbor. The property at 1148 Frankford Ave. is undergoing a major reinvention thanks to Alterra Property Group and Oombra Architects. After originally being pitched as a 60-unit apartment building, a zoning permit was issued last summer indicating a change in use to visitor accommodations. The structure is now topped off to show off the curvy shape, which will flank the Frank Furness-designed building that will see a new commercial tenant in the future.

An elevation drawing hints at what's in store for the former warehouse (and speakeasy)

At 1115 Frankford Ave., no units are being added, but we do have the exciting West Collection joining the development party. Long a non-descript warehouse, a new modern art collection will finally join the list of close-by cultural amenities. Shipping containers will be incorporated into the existing structure to create a new entryway and offices. There have been small signs of action on site, and we can’t wait to see what used to be a long wall turn into a new Fishtown institution. The outdoor plaza on the north side of the building will also help break up what is a concrete-laden stretch.

A rendering of the Frankford Collective, with seasonally appropriate cherry blossoms also included

Immediately across the street, the Frankford Collective at 1144 Frankford Ave. is very close to completion. This building is taking the opposite approach as 1148 Frankford, as the 12 units that are part of the project were initially slated to be short-term accommodations, but have since been marketed as apartments. This project from Kore Design Architecture looks pretty much complete, so hopefully we see a commercial tenant for the first floor space sometime soon.

The Frankford will continue the additional of commercial space along this formerly quiet stretch

Another street-named project is in the works at 1120 Frankford Ave., a propert perhaps best known for the lazy cats mural on its north side. We first told you about this 150-unit project from U.S. Construction and BLTa a little over a year ago, and construction is now in full swing here, with digging and concrete happening across this large site. This industrial-inspired design continues the theme of additional commercial space along this stretch, which has been slowly becoming busier over the last several years.

ONE Frankford will be a new gateway for Fishtown

The final stop on today’s jaunt might be the most impactful of all of them, as 945 Frankford Ave. near the trolley loop will form a brand-new entry to the Fishtown neighborhood. Archive Development┬áis working with Canno Design to bring a handsome, white-brick building to the former surface parking lot. Construction has not quite started for this 80-unit mixed-use building, which is now dubbed as ONE Frankford. However, the ZBA just recently granted a variance, so we expect things to proceed shortly for this seven-story building, which will include Frankford and Columbus Blvd.-facing commercial space to help enliven this dead zone.

Our abacus is telling us that’s another 402 units to add to the 1,966 we already have visited, bringing our new running total to 2,368 units. It’s exciting knowing that the projects we checked out today are all transit accessible, making the on-going construction updates to the Girard Ave. station that much more welcomed and important. We are also loving all of the new commercial space entering the mix here, which will serve to further spice up a new hub of Fishtown activity in the coming years. If you think this is a lot, just wait until you check out the next part of our journey, coming soon.