While we stopped to admire all of the dirt now moving at a long-stalled project in South Kensington, we noticed even more nearby. Gazing across the ever-changing Cecil B. Moore Ave., we could see 1649 N. 5th St. starting to peek over a construction fence in the distance.

Looking SE towards the intersection of 5th & Cecil B. Moore, with some action to the far right

First, let’s take a moment to comment on the foreground, where the second phase of the Avenue V project is now complete. These for-rent quadplexes complement the first phase of new construction across the street, with the landscaping looking much more mature since our last visit, when things were just wrapping up. But as exciting as this phase is, the next one has even larger plans.

A quick look at the landscaping that's part of Avenue V, Phase II

This final phase of the project is the largest one yet, with developers the Riverwards Group planning for a six-story project that will bring 200 residential units. The design from HDO Architecture brings a modern look, with a surface-level parking for 51 cars and 92 bicycles accessed from both 5th and Germantown. This design was given the OK by the CDR committee a couple years back, with brick on the ground floor and a metallic paneling on the upper floors. Bi-level studio space will also be a part of the plans here, with the artist space on the south side of the project, though no other retail or commercial space will be included. To maximize the unit count here, the units themselves are fairly small, with studios, junior one-bedroom, and one-bedroom units making up the entirety of the offerings.

A look at the first floor now above ground
A rendering of what's to come
An aerial of the site shows how the new building will fit into the space
Another rendering of the final look

We are glad to see movement here, as this site was woefully underutilized given the residential trajectory of the neighborhood. Adding 200 units here to the several hundred just completed or in the works will only make this area more vibrant and exciting – quite the stark contrast from the vacancy that was the standard here not many years ago. With projects like this continuing to fill in the area, the development gap that once existed between Temple University and the Riverwards is closing, and doing so at a quicker pace than we could have possibly imagined not that far back.