The National is Under Construction

It’s been a weird feeling traveling down the 100 block of N. 2nd Street over the last year and change, as 109-131 N. 2nd St.has sat vacant, awaiting redevelopment. The vacancy at this address has been particularly jarring, as it was previously home to the National Products Company, a restaurant supply business that clad the building’s facade in iconic orange tiles over half a century ago. That historic building was demolished back in early 2016.

In the past

But wait, don’t we generally avoid demolishing buildings that are designated historic in this town? We do indeed, but this was a bit of a special case, as the tiles that made the building so unique were not meant for outdoor use and were starting to fail. From what we understand, all of them were going to need to be replaced in any redevelopment effort. So the Historical Commission granted an exception, with the caveat that the developers recreate the unique orange facade with their new project. Soon afterward, the building came down.

As we said, the property has been sitting empty for over a year, and we were starting to wonder whether the project had fallen through. It turns out the project is indeed moving forward, though under the new ownership of the Buccini/Pollin Group. This will be the first Philadelphia project for BPG. Despite the new ownership, it appears the project is the same, with plans for a six-story building with 192 apartments and a 2,000 sqft retail space. It seems the plans from Barton Partners still apply, so here’s a view of what we can expect.

Project rendering
Overhead rendering

At the end of last week, the developers had an official groundbreaking ceremony and we can see that some early site work is now underway.

Peeking behind the construction fence

According to a press release, the building should be finished next summer. This sounds like an aggressive timeline, but we like the optimism, and we’ll be fascinated to see how well the developers are able to recreate the old facade. We wonder, if they do a lousy job, will the City force them to try again? This certainly bears watching as the project moves through the construction process.