Front Street, also never known as 1st Street, was at one time the most important street in Philadelphia, at least according to Wikipedia. It’s a bummer that Front Street fell so far from grace over the years, getting the short end of the stick in the River Wards, sitting under the El, and getting I-95 as a neighbor in South Philly. This may have hampered development at one point, but as we’ve covered, Front Street in South Kensington has seen an impressive amount of construction over the last several years. And we don’t think that I-95 is much of an issue for Queen Village or Pennsport, either.
In Pennsport, we’ve seen a few projects come down the, er, highway, on Front Street in the last several years. Most of these projects have traded old industrial buildings for townhomes, and it seems that the sale prices of these homes continue to rise with every year that goes by. This is consistent with what we’re seeing around the city, but it’s still worth noting. On the 1400 block of S. Front St., for example, a fifteen home development went up over the last several years, with prices ranging from $600K to $650K.
These homes sold at these prices despite the highway across the street and two rather unattractive buildings immediately next door to the south. 1438 S. Front St. is a low-rise commercial building with too much wood paneling which has been home to a tanning salon for years. The stucco-clad building to the south has been a dialysis center for some time, and is one of the most unfortunate buildings we’ve ever seen.
While these are two different buildings, they technically have the same address, so when we saw a zoning application for demolition and the construction of new homes, we were hopeful that both buildings would be torn down posthaste. We’re bummed to say that it turns out only the wood-paneled northern building is coming down, with the stucco palace to the south sticking around for now. In place of the northern building, look for six new homes, and we suspect three will face Front Street and the others will face Howard Street. The property is zoned for industrial use, but given all the similar projects we’ve seen nearby, we imagine the developers will get the variance they seek. And we would also wager that the homes will sell for a bit more than the homes next door, if history is any indication.