Another day, another significant project on Front Street. A reader tipped us off last week that construction was getting started at 1229-31 N. Front St., a property which has been sitting empty for about a decade. Sometime around 2007 or 2008, a pair of blighted buildings were torn down at this location. And nobody mourned them at all.

Screen Shot 2017-09-07 At 7.45.41 AM
Several years ago

Yeah, those buildings looked like garbage, making this one of those situations where a vacant lot represented an improvement. But with Front Street seeing an unprecedented wave of development, it’s not unexpected to see this property get redeveloped. And as we’ve seen on several prior occasions, like the ski slope building on the 1300 block, the developers are making some creative design choices to sell life along the El to future residents.

Under construction

The developer in this case is Callahan Ward, a company we just covered earlier this week for a three home project in Northern Liberties. We’ve written about numerous projects from this developer over the years, most of which have been of the town home variety. Last month though, we told you about the Chinatown Lofts, a 7-unit building they’re developing at the corner of 12th & Vine. On Front Street, it seems Callahan Ward will continue to explore the multi-family world, as they’re building an 11-unit building with retail on the first floor. They’ve dubbed this one the Lofts at Front Street, and like the other projects from this developer, ISA did the design work.

Screen Shot 2017-09-07 At 8.04.25 AM
Rendering, if the El didn't exist
Screen Shot 2017-09-07 At 8.04.29 AM
Rendering from the El
Screen Shot 2017-09-07 At 8.04.33 AM
View of the building's social space

This looks like it will be a terrific addition to the Front Street corridor. You can see, an unusual feature of the project will be the landscaped social space in the middle of the building. With the property running street to street, a few parking spots in the rear on Lee Street, and the prospect of a rooftop deck being somewhat undesirable, this is a clever way to create a shared outdoor space for the residents. Plus, carving out space mid-building allows for additional windows which provides greater flexibility for the units inside.

Also interesting, the renderings indicate that the facade will have noise reducing qualities. That’s a great feature, as it’s probably the most important thing we’d be thinking about if we were considering living here. Maybe we’ll try to set something up with this developer, before the building is occupied, to measure the decibels and see just how effectively the facade blocks the noise from the train. Then again, people have been living alongside the El for about a century, accepting the rumbling trains as background noise. Maybe the sounds of the train aren’t as much of a big deal as we would have thought.