150-64 W. Berks St., former home to Peter Woll & Sons Manufacturing Company and a very awesome ghost sign, has kept us on our toes over the last several years. After initially calling for 27 townhomes and 2 mixed-use buildings, we told you how plans changed to 23 homes and 2 small mixed-use buildings, per the details presented to CDR back in 2018.

Shot of the site and some ghost signage back in 2018
Past proposal for 23 homes and two mixed-use buildings
Site layout of previous proposal

Part of this site was up for historical designation in early 2019 but was denied, as the developers received a demolition permit prior to the nomination. The building came down in mid-2019 and the site has sat empty since then, with a brief commercial listing going up for 150-80 W. Berks St. around the time of the demolition.

Aerial of the site back in 2019, from Scope CRE
Current view of site, looking east
Current view, looking west

But as you can probably guess, it appears there’s finally movement again after a long pause in the action. The developers are looking to ditch the homes and pivot to a 80 foot tall, mixed-use project with ground floor commercial, 152 apartments, 42 parking spots, and 77 bike parking spaces. Now that is certainly quite a switch! And after a little digging, we found the developers are Kumas Homes, who are currently working on another apartment project in South Philly, at 6th & Moore.

Before the South Kensington project can break ground, it will require a trip to the ZBA, as a refusal for the zoning permit for this project was issued in December. We’re intrigued to see how the neighborhood responds to this appeal, but we have a funny feeling we may hear the word “parking” mentioned once or twice. On the one hand, apartments are not permitted at this property given its zoning, but on the other hand, there are numerous residential and mixed-use buildings nearby, so the project makes sense given its surroundings.

173 looking mighty impressive as it’s rehabbed
171 picking up a yoga studio soon

As we covered in July of last year, a different Peter Woll & Sons Building at 173 W. Berks St. across the street was granted historical designation right around the time 150-64 met the wrecking ball. Cecil Baker + Partners is leading the way on the design work from developer Urban Conversions that will bring 30 units to the tower-like former industrial building. Also, be on the lookout for a yoga studio to soon fill the ground floor of the Ambit-designed neighbor at 171 W. Berks St. per a commercial building permit issued last week. We’d be lying if we said we expected we’d be able to practice downward dog within sight of the Berks El station several years back, but times have changed around these parts, and the changes don’t seem to be slowing down.