We were winding our way through South Kensington yesterday, fighting the early setting sun, and happened upon a pair of new homes on the 1400 block of N. Lawrence Street. Previously, 1428 and 1430 N. Lawrence St. were sitting vacant, even though most of the rest of this block is in pretty decent shape. There are now two homes on these lots, with 1428 N. Lawrence St. under construction and 1430 N. Lawrence St. finished. The latter home sold a couple months ago for $402K.

Looking up Lawrence St.

Closer look

But we've buried the lede! Just around the corner from these new homes, we see that the former umbrella factory at 5th & Master is finally getting renovated after sitting vacant and blighted for a number of years. You may know, there was a plan for a residential conversion here back in 2006 which would have meant 141 condo units and a parking garage next door, but the project never happened because of the recession in 2008. About a year ago, we told you that Core Realty has purchased the property and we were optimistic that this would mean that the building would finally get renovated. Remember, this is the company behind the Penn Treaty Village Pennthouses and they know what they're doing when it comes to adaptive reuse.

Taking a peek toward the umbrella factory, we see that there is indeed progress inside, with quite a bit of metal framing visible from the street.

Umbrella factory

Looking at the permits, we see that Core is planning 181 apartment units in the building along with ground floor retail. This project will dovetail very nicely with the collection of projects on the 1200 block of 5th Street which will add another 78 units plus a dog park to the neighborhood. It's crazy to think that these blocks were rife with blight and vacancy just a few years ago and will soon be adding nearly 300 units. This all seems to make a pretty compelling case to buy a newly available corner bar on the 400 block of Girard Avenue, wouldn't you say?