What Will the Future Hold for American Street in Kensington?

In Kensington, we’re curious to see whether plans for two large projects, Soko Lofts and Liberty Square, will spur further development along wide-open American Street, which is lined with vacant lots and former industrial sites potentially primed for new construction or repurposing.

For example, there’s a vacant lot that’s basically a fenced-in green space situated on the southwest corner of American & Jefferson, which is about a block away from the proposed Soko Lofts project. The lot is considered part of the Crane Arts building at 1400 N. American St., but we noticed an ‘Available’ sign posted on the site earlier this month. Across the street, on the northwest corner is what looks like an unused garage. And right across the street from the garage on the northeast corner a vacant lot sprawls along American Street toward Oxford Street. That lot is owned by the PRA. Might we see them put her up on the block at some point in the next year?

We think development along American St. is bound to come. As you continue north up American Street there are vacant lots on each of the ensuing blocks at Oxford and Cecil B. Moore. If and when development arrives, we suspect the width of the street will represent one of the design challenges for developers. The question is how can the street be developed over the long-term? Could it be a future commercial corridor with angled parking like N. 2nd in Northern Liberties? Or will it remain more industrial, like Washington Avenue (unfortunately) has? Driving along American Street now has its strange charm. It's empty and you're right in the guts of the city. But with plans for big projects nearby, we imagine a decade from now some of those vacancies will be new places to live or work or shop.