Northern Liberties was once an industrial center in Philadelphia, but completed a transition into a residential neighborhood a number of years ago. A watershed moment for the neighborhood was the demolition of the old Schmidt’s brewery near Girard Avenue, and the construction of the Piazza. The Piazza, now known as Schmidt’s Commons, is now approaching its 10th birthday, and was joined in 2011 by a small shopping center to the north which is anchored by an Acme.
Since that project finished all those years ago, the neighborhood has continued to change, and home prices have continued to climb. But the area around 2nd & Girard has stagnated, with a few huge vacant lots holding the neighborhood back from its full potential. Recently though, we’ve learned about a few big projects that will finally move the needle around here. Perhaps the most prominent is the planned Piazza followup from Tower Development, which will include 1,200 rental apartments, 45K sqft of retail space, and 350 parking spots just north of the original Piazza. Much smaller but still hugely important, we told you about plans to redevelop the long vacant triangle across the street from the Acme with a total of 82 units and some retail space.
And wouldn’t you know it, yet another underused property in this part of town is next on the list. The April CDR agenda is hot off the proverbial presses, and it has revealed the the surface parking lot at 1102-34 N. Germantown Ave. should soon get developed. This parcel is actually much bigger than we realized, covering over 30,000 sqft.
As is the case with the parcel across the street, Streamline is the developer for this property. And as you might expect, they’re proposing something rather similar to their project across the street. According to their CDR submission, they’re looking to build a total of 67 units. These units will be spread between one mixed-use building with 24 units, five 7-unit buildings, one 6-unit building, and a duplex. There will also be 21 parking spaces, and a pocket park at the point of the triangle formed by N. American Street and Germantown Avenue. Harman Deutsch did the architecture work, and from where we sit, the renderings look pretty nice.
Once this project, the project across the street, and the new and improved Piazza get built, Northern Liberties will see three of its largest vacant lots get filled at last. All these new residents will only increase the vibrancy in the neighborhood, while simultaneously increasing the wait time for lanes at North Bowl. Given the sizes of these parcels though, none of the proposed projects feel like an overuse, but instead an appropriate next step for an evolving neighborhood. What do you think?