The blocks of Frankford Avenue between Girard and Delaware Ave. have often played the role of red headed stepchild to the stretch on the other side of Girard, probably because I-95 runs right through the middle of this quarter mile stretch. Nevertheless, it has seen its share of development over the last ten years or so, with the highlight being the renovation of the former Ajax Metals facility into the complex that houses the Fillmore, among other businesses. There have been other developments large and small around here, including the ongoing construction of a mixed-use building at Frankford & Richmond, the opening of a marijuana dispensary, or the smaller mixed-use building closer to Girard, which is home to a real estate business.

That building was constructed in 2017, on a lot that had been sitting vacant for a long time. Immediately next door were a pair of homes that looked like they dated back to before the Civil War. You may have noticed that we used the past tense to describe these homes- that’s because they were both seriously damaged by a fire in 2018. Last year, they met the wrecking ball.

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In the past
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Current view

Developers stepped in and bought the two properties, paying a tidy sum of $420K, perhaps in a shoutout to the dispensary down the street. They came up with a plan to consolidate the two lots and build a five-story building with ground floor retail. Given the CMX-2.5 zoning for the property, this parcel could accommodate an apartment building with 11 units by right, or up to 19 units if certain bonuses are utilized. The developers are taking the path less traveled though, and are instead opting for a boutique hotel at this location, with 12 rooms. This project required a zoning variance which was granted, paving the way for the building to move forward. The developers are calling the project the Frankford Collective, and have listed the ground floor and basement retail space for rent, for roughly $6K/month.

Frankford Render
Project rendering
We don't see the resemblance

A boutique hotel is certainly more exciting than an apartment building and seems like it will fill a growing need in this part of town. When you consider the presence of the Fillmore, Rivers Casino, and the numerous bars and restaurants on or near Frankford Avenue, Fishtown has become a tourist destination all its own, and we can imagine people coming to Philadelphia for the weekend and not leaving this area. And yet there are no major hotels in the neighborhood, just another boutique, the Lokal, and the mini-hotel above Wm. Mulherins Sons. Of course, we’ve told you about plans for a larger hotel with 125 rooms on the 1200 block of Frankford Avenue, but after years of delays it appears to still be delayed. With the hospitality business being turned inside out by COVID-19 at the moment, further delays seem likely. Perhaps the same may apply to its much smaller compatriot on the 1100 block.