When we think of development in Northern Liberties, much of it revolves around the bustling N. 2nd Street corridor and all of the action down by the waterfront. However, if you scoot just a block west, there is plenty happening along N. 3rd St. as well, where so much is underway that we had to split our updates into two parts. Today’s focus is a cluster of projects taking place near Liberty Lands, on the block between Brown St. to the south and Poplar St. to the north.

Looking north along the 800 block of N. 3rd St.

We start at 817-21 N. 3rd St., which we visited back in 2019 when plans first came to light. Rising immediately next door to a finished 32-unit project you can see in the foreground above, this 48-unit, mixed-use building from Atrium Design Group is at full height and looking ready for its facade soon. We expected a building that mimicked the jagged edges of its immediate neighbor (also from Atrium), but it appears a different approach was taken instead, though we are still without any renderings. Underground parking for 36 cars is included, and a childcare center is slated to take over the ground floor commercial space per recent zoning docs.

A look at the 48-unit building, already windowed up
Another view of progress

Immediately next door is 823-29 N. 3rd St., which we visited back in early 2022 when it was for sale. This property is zoned IRMX, meaning that a residential or industrial use would be permitted here – certainly an enticing factor in its $3.6 million sales price in mid-2022. We speculated that we could see a multifamily turn here, and it appears we were mostly correct: zoning permits indicate that 15 short-term rentals will take up floors 2-4 here, meaning a Sonder/Airbnb-type concept it likely. Work was well underway here when we went by, and we were happy to see the garage door open so we could get a quick glimpse into the courtyard area.

Even more work happening on the old buildings
The open garage reveals a slice of the courtyard space

The final project in this installment sits at 808-18 N. 3rd St., immediately across the street from the other two. We last stopped here in the spring of last year, when construction was just getting started. Foundation work is now underway for a new building which is going up directly next to the understated simplicity of the Mifflin School (which was built all the way back in 1825). Zoubek Properties is working with Level 9 on this one, with 30 units slated across the two structures once things are complete.

A look at the foundation work and equipment on site
The Mifflin School looking spry after nearly 200 years
A rendering shows how the new will work with the old

For those keeping track at home, that’s nearly 100 new units to come on just part of one block. While it may seem like Northern Liberties couldn’t possibly fill in more, it sure seems as if there’s still room for growth. That being said, there are fewer and fewer properties at scale available south of Girard Ave. these days, meaning we’ll likely see development continue to stretch further west into Poplar and north into Old Kensington as Northern Liberties continues to evolve and mature.