South Kensington has experienced a major wave of development over the last half dozen years or so. The same could be said for Fishtown and East Kensington. As these neighborhoods have experienced a development surge, we’ve seen Front Street, the corridor that sits between these neighborhoods, undergo a serious transformation as well. Just a handful of years ago, we would have told you that Front Street could only hope for fringy development, perhaps the occasional hipster bar or building rehab. Instead, we’ve seen new construction of several apartment buildings, renovations of existing industrial buildings, and legit restaurants like Front Street Cafe, Wm. Mulherin’s Sons, and Good Spoon Soupery.
As you move north on Front Street, away from Girard, the development becomes more sporadic and Front Street looks more and more like it did for so many years. By the time you get to the 2100 block, you’re running into some really junky looking properties even though there’s tons of development on nearby blocks to the east. Nevertheless, developers are looking to push the momentum to this block. Next week, the owners of 2150 N. Front St. will go to the ZBA with a plan to replace the existing building with a new mixed-use building with retail on the first floor and five residential units. This will obviously be a radical change, given the surrounding properties on the block.
We don’t see a world in which the ZBA would reject this proposal, as it seems like it would be consistent with the character of the corridor. If it does indeed happen and proves to be a success, we wonder whether it will inspire other developers to push construction further up Front Street. Who knows, we could even see a new building appear at 2146 N. Front St., which seems like a fine place to open a pet store. Again.