Things continue to boom on Front Street, with new construction and renovation activity changing the face of the long ignored stretch under the El. It still amazes us that developers are giving so much attention to Front Street, given the looming presence of the elevated rail tracks and the rumble of the El passing by every few minutes. But location is key, and the fact remains that Front Street runs between Fishtown and South Kensington, two neighborhoods that have become extremely desirable in the last decade or so. Figure people are willing to suffer the shadows and the noise to live so close to the action, and perhaps there’s a slight discount in terms of rent for some of the units, to take that pesky El into account.

As is the case with development all over the city, the architecture runs the gamut on Front Street, with examples of basic buildings clad entirely in metal panels and some outrageous structures, like the eco-friendly apartment building covered in solar panels. Some particularly creative buildings have appeared on Front Street over the years, with the ski-slope building on the 1300 block of Front Street among our personal favorites. That building tapers back in the front, to provide the units with some additional distance from the El. Also, it’s awesome after a snowstorm. Now joining the fray, and joining other newish buildings on the block, there’s something under construction which also breaks from the norm.

West side of the 1300 block of N. Front St.
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1306 N. Front St. in the past
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Current view
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Looking up

At 1306 N. Front St., developers have demoed an old two-story building and are now constructing a new five-story replacement. The new building, which stretches to Hope Street, will have retail space on the first floor and a total of seven apartments between the two frontages of the property. Notably, the facade will have a unique appearance, as designed by KJO Architecture. You can see, the brick sections of the facade are offset from each other, looking like Tetris blocks being stacked by someone that doesn’t quite understand how to play the game. The look is unique indeed and will only add to the fun on this rapidly changing block.

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1327-29 N. Front St., while they were around
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Newish foundation

Speaking of changes on the 1300 block of N. Front St., there’s another project that recently got underway across the street. Here, developers demoed an old building at 1329 N. Front St. and they’re combining the property with the long vacant lot at 1327 N. Front St. to create a double-wide property. The plans call for a triplex with parking, a plan that was permitted as a matter of right. You can see, the foundation is already poured, and we expect framing will get started sometime soon.