Development Finally Proceeding on Frankford Ave Parking Lot in Fishtown?

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Parcel at 1351-59 Frankford Ave.

It looks like development may finally be proceeding on an oddly-shaped lot in the heart of Fishtown’s commercial district. 1351-59 Frankford Avenue stands just north of the flagship La Colombe location and has been used as a parking lot for as long as we can remember. Most recently, Zipcar has used one side of the parking lot for the storage of rental cars and GreenDrop has utilized the southern portion as a location to park their trailer.

Development in this location seems like a no brainer. The lot is surrounded by successful commercial establishments and we have seen many other condo and apartment buildings rise nearby. Home prices and rents have reached levels we did not think were possible in Fishtown, even a few years ago.

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Aerial view of 1351-59 Frankford Ave.

Public records show that developers purchased the CMX-2 zoned lot at 1351-59 Frankford Ave. in May of 2015. In July of 2015, the development team received zoning use permits approving the erection of a 33 residential unit mixed-use building with 14 car parking spots and 36 bicycle spaces. The lot remained undeveloped for years. In April of 2018, an administrative permit was issued that extended the zoning use permit for a year. The administrative permit stated that construction permits had to be secured by July of 2019 or the use permits would expire. It looks like that day has come.

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On May 8th, new construction permits were issued for the foundation only. This is commonplace with development projects. After the foundation is completed, it will be inspected and additional permits will be issued so that construction can proceed. The issuance of the foundation permit is a sign that development may finally proceed. Of course, the development team could continue to stall. However, with how hot the Fishtown real estate market currently is, we expect this project to move forward. We do not see anything that would indicate a change from the 33 unit mixed-use building proposed in 2015, but a different by-right plan could also be in the works. We should find out more details soon when additional permits are issued.

UPDATE: We have been told that this development will include 50,000 square feet of office space. Exciting news for Fishtown!

We are hopeful that we do see this building rise. The parking lot that exists today breaks up the Frankford Avenue commercial corridor and is a blight on an otherwise charming tract. Walking north from Frankford and Girard, this half of a block stretch is a dead zone with no street activity. Development has already moved well north of this parcel on Frankford Ave. It will be much better pedestrian experience when retail storefronts occupy the ground floor of this lot and people can saunter uninterrupted through Fishtown. What kind of business would you like to see move into this new building? Are you confident that development will finally proceed? Have you heard about any change in plans from the original 33 unit development?

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