In Northern Liberties there must be a never-ending stock of vacant lots and unused industrial spots, because at least every other month, plans for a large project seem to pop up on the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association zoning agenda.
The latest example is 312-30 Fairmount Ave., where last month developer David Perlman proposed 27 homes, each with parking. One major bit of feedback from NLNA was to cut the height of the homes to 38 feet. “We're generally okay with the project,” said Larry Freedman, NLNA zoning chair, “except for the structure furthest east.”
The property includes a few old warehouse buildings on Fairmount Ave. and 4th St., and members of the NLNA wondered whether developers could salvage one section, a brick element of the property on the east side that includes carriage doors that run nearly to the top of the building. Adaptive reuse would certainly be an attractive aesthetic, but we're not certain that approach would work for this project.
Freedman said he expects Perlman will make some tweaks and reappear. Expect the changes to be much less significant than the last time this property came before the community. Last spring, developers from the Klein Company proposed a 108-unit project here. We don't have to tell you the ways a 27 home project differs from one involving 108 apartments.
So we'll have to wait, humbly, and see. That two years in a row a developer has come forward with a major plan here, shows that the old industrial use is on the outs and residential continues to rise in the neighborhood. When or if a project is approved here at last, it will join a handful of new projects occurring right now at the bottom of the block, along North 3rd—like the Bellagio project, nine new homes on the 600 block of N. 3rd Street. Or its neighbor—down at the northwest corner of 3rd & Brown where five new homes have been built – another Perlman project. And of course, there's the biggest project in the area, the conversion of the Transatlantic building on the 400 block of Fairmount and a bunch of new homes around it.
Maybe someday, the supply of properties will exhaust itself in Northern Liberties, but we're not there yet.