You may recall, 1701 Federal St. was once home to a convenience store, which made its home in a two-story red-brick building. The store closed its doors years ago and the building sat vacant until its demolition in early 2020. At the time, we noted that the same developers that had demoed the building had plans to demolish the laundromat immediately to the north, and we speculated that they would pursue a zoning variance to build six or seven townhomes on the combined parcel, similar to a project across the street on the 1700 block of Annin. In early 2021, after the laundromat was torn down, we were surprised to learn that the developers were instead planning a four-story 42-unit building at the site. We suggested that there might be a tough zoning fight for such a plan, so we weren’t so shocked to hear about a pivot to a by-right approach, to a 30-unit mixed-use building.

The two-story brick building that stood on site had been vacant for several years
The view from 17th & Federal almost exactly one year ago
The current view, much further along than we were expecting

This building has certainly taken shape over the last year. Moto Designshop handled the architecture, with a modern look featuring metal paneling and brick on the dark-toned facade. While there’s still plenty of work to be done, we are very encouraged to see things this far along, as this building is certainly an upgrade over what was here before. Also, we’ll be keenly interested to see what kind of retailer ends up leasing the space at the corner, as this is a terrific opportunity to increase the energy in this section of Point Breeze.

On-site rendering shows what the final product will look like
View looking southwest from 17th & Annin
A look at the Federal St. facade
A closer look at the brick, installed vertically on the ground level

It’s definitely nice seeing this scale of development deeper into this neighborhood and not directly along a major commercial corridor. Given that the property is zoned CMX-2, the developers needed to utilize the green roof bonus and the affordable housing bonus to get to this height and density, otherwise we’d be seeing a three-story building with half the unit count. Sure, we would have liked even more density, but this is still a pretty good outcome. And any time we can see an uptick in density – and with a nice design to boot – we have to smile, as the city continues to add more residents across greater Center City and beyond.