It's been about exactly a year since we last visited the 800 block of N. Lawrence Street, and considering the number of projects ongoing in Northern Liberties it came as no surprise that things have changed during that time. On our last visit, we looked at an old warehouse at 823-25 N. Lawrence St., where developers Callahan Ward were working with the NLNA to come up with a project that would satisfy the desires of the community. Initially, the developers looked at this 34'x90' lot which runs street-to-street and proposed two homes with garages on Lawrence Street and two more homes fronting Leithgow Street. While 45' is a little shallow for a residential lot, this seemed like a nice upgrade over a one-story warehouse.
But the community group didn't like the garages on Lawrence Street so it was back to the drawing board. Eventually, they came up with a compromise plan of two duplexes fronting Lawrence Street with four parking spots, accessed on Leithgow Street. We didn't attend the hearing so we couldn't tell you what happened there, but for whatever reason the project was denied at the ZBA. After months of negotiations between the developer and neighborhood, this was surely a disappointment for everyone. If someone out there has some more insight into what happened, we'd love to hear the additional detail.
Given lemons, Callahan Ward is doing their best to make lemonade. They've subdivided the property into two and they're building two huge single family homes. Designed by KJO Architecture, the project is called the Alleborn and the three-story homes are 17' wide and 52.5' deep. Keep in mind, most new homes are between 38' and 42' deep. Needless to say, the extra ten plus feet makes a significant difference. Not only are these homes huge, but they also have a backyard and rear-access parking (many homes have one or the other, very few have both). Framing is done and they're already doing work inside.
Across the street, the Seventeen at Lawrence project is continuing to move forward though it looks like it hit some delays over the last year. This project will ultimately result in seventeen new homes on Lawrence and Orkney Streets, hence the name. Framing started on the first phase of homes over a year ago and they still don't look like they're totally finished. Nevertheless, construction is progressing on a second row of homes on Lawrence Street. So far it looks like one of the homes has settled and a couple more are listed for sale. The amazing listing, which you can see here, begins "Once in a generation comes a time when an architectural masterpiece becomes the new centerpiece of a burgeoning Philadelphia neighborhood."
So, uh, yeah, guess we're gonna go buy one now. And you probably should too. Don't wanna miss out.