Phase Two of Duck Flats Project Coming Soon

When the Duck Flats proposal was first presented back in 2008, things were a go for twenty-five new condos in the form of ten units on the 800 block of N. Lawrence St. and fifteen to be built at 818-24 N. 4th St., incorporating a garage that once stored the Ride the Ducks boats.

Original overhead view

But the recession wiped that ditty away. Last year, the folks from Onion Flats devised an alternate plan for this project, cutting down the total number of units, scrapping the idea of mechanical parking (think parking lots with stacks of cars in New York) and dividing the project into two phases. Phase one included eight units on Lawrence Street, down from the ten that were originally planned.

“Giving the lending climate at the time,” said Ted Singer of Onion Flats, “unless you were hard money financed, it’s just too difficult, at least for condos, to get the whole project financed at one time.” With the first phase nearing completion, the developers reappeared in August at the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association zoning meeting with plans for the project’s second phase. The number of units has been reduced again, from 15 to 13, and a ground-floor commercial space has been added on 4th Street.

4th Street side
You can see the rear of phase one

All parking will be contained in the garage. According to Larry Freedman, NLNA zoning chair, the NLNA will likely support the project. But before that, they’re talking with the developers about final design concepts. The NLNA liked some of the aspects of the original proposal that highlighted the industrial era of the building, and wasn’t so fond of the project’s new look. A final version, according to Freedman, will blend highlights of the old and new proposals.

The original rendering, which NLNA liked more than the new one, which we don't have.

It’s nice to see that this project, long delayed, finally has a path toward completion. Hopefully, the developers and the community will soon come to an agreement on the look of the second phase of the Duck Flats, and groundbreaking can take place posthaste. It’s been a long time coming, but it should be happening soon enough.

–Lou Mancinelli