In South Kensington, the public sources are indirectly investing more than $1M, including a $250K grant from the American Street Empowerment Zone, overseen by the Department of Commerce, to spur business development at 1600 N. American St., for years a large vacant lot. This is an area that’s teeming with residential development, and there are currently plans for two huge mixed-use projects a couple of blocks south of here that would bring 500-plus new units and additional retail to the area.

Looking up American Street

Last month, the City, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, and Veyko, a metal fabrication firm now located in Northern Liberties, celebrated groundbreaking for a new $2.1M manufacturing facility. PIDC financed $933K for the project. Because of its location in an area targeted for revitalization, the project was afforded the benefits of the Empowerment Zone, which was launched in 1994. It’s one of three projects in the American Street Empowerment Zone that will receive grants. The new facility will afford Veyko the opportunity to create 15 new jobs.

Future home of Veyko

Project rendering. Image from the Philadelphia Business Journal

Recently, we wondered whether some other vacancies along American Street would be redeveloped soon, wondering about a couple of specific lots to the south. At American & Jefferson, near the Crane Arts building, two development opportunities are just waiting for the right party to step forward. Whether they’ll be residential, commercial, or industrial is anybody’s guess, but it’s clear that City agencies have an interest in keeping North American Street industrial to at least some extent. Is this realistic? Is this in the neighborhood’s best interest? Check back here in a decade, and we should have some more definitive answers.