Grays Ferry has seen more projects than we can count in recent years, and the type of project has been fairly consistent- low density. We’ve seen tons of single-family homes and duplexes, and only the occasional small apartment building, with a few on the 2600 block of Federal as the only examples that come to mind offhand. Perhaps this makes sense, since Grays Ferry doesn’t really have a commercial corridor to call its own other than Grays Ferry Avenue, which is far from walkable and features far more industrial use than commercial. Then again, the neighborhood has tremendous access to West Philadelphia and Center City via Grays Ferry Avenue, so even though there’s not much to do in the neighborhood, density is still beneficial for people looking to get to those places. And let’s agree, plenty of people are looking to get to one or both of those places on a daily basis, or at least they will be when the world starts to tilt back toward normalcy.

With this in mind, we’re excited to share news of a potential project in the pipeline at 2736 Federal St., which is currently home to a one-story warehouse building. Developers are planning to combine this property with the two empty lots next door and are looking to build a mixed-use building here with retail on the first floor and 18 units upstairs. Because the parcel is zoned for industrial use, it will require a ZBA variance, but why would anyone have an issue with such a project at this location? Also- we wonder what kind of retail might make sense here? Don’t say a crossfit gym.

Warehouse will go away
Looking east
Looking west
Northern view

Many properties in Grays Ferry on on the small side, which might explain why typical projects have generally shied away from density. The little pocket where this building is located, right off Grays Ferry Avenue, does include some larger parcels, all of which are zoned industrial. We wonder, if this project gets approval and has success, whether other developers will look to build similar buildings in this part of the neighborhood. To take things a step further, we also wonder whether some of the very large properties which are in use as industrial buildings might turn over at some point in the coming years, as those parcels could accommodate some very significant mixed-use projects. We’re probably a ways away from that happening though- maybe after all of Washington Avenue west turns over, we’ll start to see this kind of action on Grays Ferry. So figure on sometime between a decade from now and… never.