During the pandemic, one of the best outdoor dining spaces that has emerged is the International Bar’s open air refuge at 1700 N. Front St. The parking lot across Cecil B. Moore Avenue from the watering hole was transformed into a safe space to hangout, eat some food, and have a drink. On the north side of the lot, City Fitness has been hosting outdoor gym sessions. Over the last few years, you may have also been on this property for an artisan market or two. Back only a few years ago, the property was the home of a used car dealership. Although outdoor drinking and exercising has been a great temporary use for this centrally located parcel, it is definitely not the highest and best use of the giant lot in a neighborhood that is exploding with growth.
The owners of the property feel the same way. They are planning on building a 5-story, 62 foot tall, 172,844 square foot building with 204 residential units, 16,429 square feet of commercial space, and 70 bicycle stalls at 1700-44 N. Front Street. Due to the more than 45,000 square foot parcel’s CMX-2.5 zoning, no automobile parking is required and this project can proceed by-right while utilizing the moderate income housing bonus. The development team will present the project to the Civic Design Review (CDR) on September 14th for non-binding feedback.
The building will include a courtyard along Front Street that will be utilized as an outdoor seating area for businesses within the development and access to the residential lobby. There will be another courtyard located along Hope Street. Commercial spaces will occupy the street frontage along Cecil B. Moore Ave. and Front Street. One of the the spaces along Front Street seems to be reserved for a cafe. The loading dock will be located on Palmer Street and the trash pickup area will be located on Hope Street.
Although we have been loving the International Bar’s outdoor area, an extra 204 homes for people and multiple commercial spaces two blocks away from the subway station in a growing neighborhood is a higher and better use than a surface parking lot. It’s really amazing how much development has happened and is happening on Front Street north of Girard Avenue. As some of the projects that we’ve told you about in the past are completed and fill up with residents and businesses, this area will continue to become more and more vibrant.
How do you feel about this project? What kind of businesses would you like to see open up in the commercial spaces?
Kyle is a Philadelphia real estate agent on the Agent PHL team at Compass, a homeowner, and a real estate investor in Philadelphia. Kyle uses his extensive Philadelphia real estate market knowledge to help his clients find homes, investment properties, and development opportunities.
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