A Renovation Mystery Under the El

Recently, we've seen some increased activity on Front Street under the El. The commercial aspect of the Oxford Mills project fronts Front Street. A former garage is being converted into a soup place across the street from El Bar. And three duplexes should soon break ground just above Girard Avenue. Today we zip further north, near the Berks Station and the Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, and note a renovation that we can't quite understand.

In the past

1844 N. Front St. was a blighted building for years, like so many others on Front Street in this area. According to a thread on Fishtown.us, you could actually see the third floor roof pushing out the bricks from the station above. In 2010, a developer purchased this building and the one that's located immediately to the south. Both properties have benefited from some renewed attention in recent years.

Current view

Closer look

As you can see, 1844 N. Front has gotten a new and ultra-contemporary facade, replacing the run-down, crumbling front it had before. Though the renovation effort has been ongoing for a couple of years now, it still doesn't look finished. Also, the permits we've been able to find on the property suggest it's a renovation into a single family home but the commercial-looking windows on the first floor would seem to tell a different story. Does anyone know the real deal on what's happening here?

Deli space for lease next door

As we mentioned, the owners have put a few bucks into the adjacent property as well. Golden State Cash and Carry seems to be doing a healthy business. And there's a fitted out restaurant space available for rent next door. With the Berks station right across the street, one would have to imagine a sandwich shop of some kind could make it work here. And since it's set back a little from the tracks, it actually gets a little light of day.

Make your dreams come true, folks! Open Philly's next big sandwich sensation! We would have to imagine the rent numbers are exceedingly reasonable.