Will Fishtown Allow a Large Vacant Lot to Turn Into a Large Mixed-Use Development?

It’s true that Frankford Avenue has come a very long way in the last few years, with new construction, renovation, and new businesses opening all the time. There are, however, still a number of vacant lots remaining on Frankford in Fishtown, with some of those lots being massive in size. Take, for instance, 1850 Frankford Ave., which takes up about 15,000 sqft and stretches from Frankford to Blair Street.

Part of the lot
It keeps going

According to public record, the lot was purchased last November for Agaf Holdings Lp for $770K. And if you take a peek at the yellow zoning signs on the parcel, it’s clear that this parcel may soon become something a little more desirable and exciting than a giant vacant lot.

According to the zoning application, the developers intend to construct seven buildings on Frankford Ave., each with commercial on the first floor and a residential unit above. Tenants will have the opportunity to combine commercial spaces, if there’s an interest in a larger retail footprint. In addition, the developer is planning seven single family homes fronting Blair Street, with garages. Harman Deutsch did the design work, and we are into the look of the project.

Frankford Ave. frontage
Blair St. frontage

According to a story from Broad Street Media, the community response to the project was very split. At an FNA meeting two weeks ago, the neighborhood “supported” the project with a vote of 18-17, but the vast majority of near neighbors to the project came out in opposition. Reasons for opposition varied. Several neighbors opposed the height of the properties on Blair, which would admittedly dwarf the three two-story homes on the block, but would be comparable to two new homes that just got built on Hewson Street. Others opposed the contemporary look of the project, which people said was too boxy. Others still said the project would ruin the neighborhood’s character.

As of a couple of weeks ago, the developer indicated that he would not be changing the design prior to his hearing with the ZBA. Hopefully, the concerns of the nearest neighbors will be addressed in some way, and the ZBA will support the application for this project, paving the way for a giant vacant lot on Frankford Avenue to disappear. In the coming weeks, we’ll have more news about a couple of lots on Frankford, which are seemingly on the clock as well.