When talking about ongoing development in Philadelphia, Frankford Ave. is one of those streets that comes up over and over again. In fact, just the other day we were on the southern end of the street, reporting on the West Collection’s new plans for a gallery on the corridor. Today we are checking in on some proximate projects to the West Collection’s future home, focusing on the stretch of Frankford between Girard and Delaware Avenues. You might think of this area as a destination of sorts, with The Fillmore, Barcade, and others welcoming folks from near and far. This is a major evolution for this part of Frankford, which was fairly quiet and underdeveloped as recently as a decade ago. Another big change is now in the cards, with a major residential injection on the horizon.
We start our journey at the busy intersection at Frankford & Girard, where work on the former Kensington National Bank at 1148 Frankford Ave. is well underway. We reported back in October that plans initially included 60 apartments and a revamp of the historic building into a refreshed commercial space. However, a recent presentation to the Zoning Board of Adjustments shed some light on what the developers, Alterra, have in store for this Oombra Architects-designed project.
The program for this project has shifted, as Alterra has teamed with Sonder in hopes of making this a short-term stay location instead of apartments. The neighborhood wasn’t especially fond of this change, and the ZBA continued their vote due to a shortage of board members at the hearing. So the variance is still TBD and for now, we’re still in wait and see mode as to who will reside here. But as you can see below, construction has started, so folks will be living here in the next couple years, whether it’s on standard or short-term leases.
Immediately next door to the south at 1144 Frankford Ave. is the Frankford Collective, which we visited in Spring 2020 when plans called for a 12-room boutique hotel. In the exact opposite situation as above, this project is now being marketed as apartments. Kore Design handled the architecture, and as you can see, things are moving along nicely. If you want some additional fun, check out this YouTube video that shows off some video renderings of the project.
Mosey down Frankford just a bit further and you’ll find 1120 Frankford Ave., directly next to Barcade. We first heard about this in January, when plans called for a mixed-use building with retail space fronting Frankford. We know now that the building will be called The Frankford and will feature 150 apartment units above nearly 6,500 sqft of ground floor commercial space. The parking lot where the property sits is a bit emptier than before, but there haven’t been any major moves for this U.S. Construction project. Still, check out the handsome industrial design to come from BLT Architects.
These changes are huge upgrades to the area, as it feels like the heart of Fishtown will soon truly be connected to the riverfront. And if another project planned at the corner of Frankford Ave. & N. Delaware Ave. from Archive Development and Canno Design gets the OK to move forward at its scheduled ZBA date on August 31st, that’s another 78 units and even more commercial space coming to the strip. Here’s hoping these all move forward soon, and this stretch of Frankford Avenue continues in the next phase of its evolution.