New development along North Front Street adds more housing to booming South Kensington neighborhood


South Kensington has seen more construction than any other neighborhood in Philadelphia in recent years. Literally dozens of large new apartment buildings have been built, or are under construction or seriously planned, in the neighborhood, with still others built or planned in nearby East Kensington, Fishtown, Ludlow, and Northern Liberties, of course. Many new developments have been built, or are planned, along North Front Street next to the Market/Frankford line. These new developments often replace small warehouses or parking lots and join some major renovations along North Front, which often have trendy new businesses inside. A new development is planned for one of these parking lots at the intersection of North Front Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, at 1700 North Front Street. This new development will be mostly a large apartment building, designed by NORR and Fishtown Collective (this building will be on the edge of Fishtown and South Kensington).


This new project will be a six-story apartment building stretching along North Front Street from Cecil B. Moore Avenue to Palmer Street. It will have 204 rental units and 16,000 square feet of retail space on North Front. The developers plan to have a cafe in part of the retail space and, possibly, a restaurant or two in the remaining space. The apartments will consist of 28 studios, 141 one bedroom units, and 35 two bedroom units. There will be a courtyard facing North Front Street, with trees and seating for the cafe and possible restaurants, and another courtyard facing Hope Street. There will be amenities, including a fitness center and a library, and a terrace on the fifth floor, next to a garden room. The exterior will have distinctive brown and turquoise stucco, a color that is similar to the steel structure of the El tracks, with green stucco surrounding the landscaped courtyard. There will, also, be a detailed brick cornice at the top and acoustic windows to shield the units from the noise of the El line right outside. The building will have 70 bicycle parking spaces, but no parking spaces for automobiles, probably because of the Market/Frankford line next door, which brings commuters right into Center City and University City quickly.


This new apartment development will replace a long under-utilized site on North Front Street with many new residents and new businesses. This adds to the incredible amount of development which is transforming the South Kensington neighborhood from a neighborhood with a large amount of vacant land and buildings to one of the most vibrant and urban neighborhoods in Philadelphia.


By Gabriel Gottlieb