After checking out the progress of a 460+ unit, multi-building project along the Delaware River Waterfront, we couldn’t help but run it back. All we had to do was scoot north past the Residences at One Brown to find a shockingly similar concept that is also transforming this sliver of Northern Liberties east of 95. At 918-80 N. Delaware Ave., this former home to multiple low-rise industrial warehouses is slated to become a shiny new apartment complex that will welcome another 466 units to the neighborhood. Let’s check out the design from HDO Architecture before we dive into the progress.

An aerial rendering of "Five on Canal"

After a slow start, this project from developers GY Properties is now charging ahead and looking darn good in the process. Now called Five on Canal, things are really coming together for this contemporary design. The orange and red brick on each of the buildings work well together, creating a striking outline on the angled site. Progress thus far looks identical to the renderings – a good sign that the finishes won’t be value engineered into a lower quality product. We are also excited that this will be adding multiple commercial spots, including several that will be fronting Delaware Ave. – another huge win from a design perspective.

Looking NE from N. Delaware Ave. at the current progress
Rendering shows what the future will bring
Looking south at the retail-lined street frontage
Once again, plans are looking nearly identical to the progress

It’s exciting to see the progress here, but there is much, much more still to go. Looking around the site, there were still plenty of things just getting started, including the removal of the massive pile of dirt that will be home to the property’s northern-most amenity building.

Heavy machinery and other cores in progress
A look at another elevator core beginning to rise
Still a dirt pile for the northern end of the site

Seeing the city’s scale and density creep back towards the river is something that has been in the works since that pesky highway scarred the eastern side of Philadelphia fifty years ago. However, this is just one of several projects reshaping the feel around here. In fact, there is quite an urban canyon rising here, or at least half a canyon. When standing at the intersection of Delaware & Frankford Ave., this and our other recent visit are adding to a continuous street wall to the south on the western side of the road. Looking north, ONE Frankford and 1130 N. Delaware Ave. are also both underway, continuing the street wall all the way up to Penn Treaty Park.

918-08 DelAveCanyon
The street wall looking south from Frankford & Delaware Ave.
918-09 DelAveCanyonNorth
The view north from the same spot

Quite a change for the area, huh? Not only will the built environment feel different along here, with storefronts and height where blank walls and empty lots once reigned, the nearly 1,200 units across these four projects will inject a street presence that will inevitably energize the area. With some of most exciting neighborhoods in the city literally steps away, it makes all the sense in the world to see this area finally, at long last, make real steps toward becoming a vibrant, waterfront destination.