Harrowgate Warehouse Conversion: 119 Units + 27 Commercial Spaces

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A rendering of J-centrel via Shift Capital

We’ve told you that Harrowgate is becoming a hot spot for artists and makers that are looking for affordable space to live and work while still living close to quality public transportation. The neighborhood, which is situated around the Tioga El stop, is filled with large industrial buildings and blocks of rowhomes. We’ve previously written about an old school getting converted to 29 units + offices, the 39 luxury units at the J Street Lofts, and the 24-unit mixed-use new construction project rising next to the J Street Lofts.

Shift Capital is one of the leading developers in the neighborhood. They are the team behind the two warehouses that were converted into MaKen Studios as well as the Kensington Avenue Storefront Challenge and many other projects in Harrowgate. MaKen Studios is a makers space that has tenants including furniture makers, photographers, artists, musicians, an ice cream manufacturer, ceramic companies, woodworkers, clothing designers, and shoe makers among other businesses. Some incredible things are happening within the walls of the two converted buildings.

MaKen Studios has been a huge success. There is currently no space available in either building for new businesses. To meet the continued demand, Shift Capital is embarking on another project, this time with residential space included.

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A rendering of the courtyard a J-centrel via Shift Capital

J-centrel is a 155,000 square foot warehouse redevelopment project that is currently underway at 3400 J St. The project will include 119 residential units and 27 industrial office / artist / retail spaces along with 60 bike parking spaces. Permits for a one-story addition and a cahnge of occupancy classification were pulled in February. The development will include a landscaped courtyard that will be open to the public and a cafe. It looks like Cà Phê Roasters, a Vietnamese coffee company, is already slated to take space within J-centrel where they will likely run their roasting operations as well as a retail space. The digital storytelling IF Lab (!F Lab) is also slated to be a tenant at J-centrel. Smith & Roller is developing this project along with Shift Capital.

One really unique aspect of this development is that the residents will have the opportunity to earn $100 off of their rent by volunteering 4 hours per month within the community. We think this is an amazing incentive program. In many gentrifying neighborhoods, there is often tension between long-time residents and newcomers. We think that this program could help ease those feelings and create a better sense of community within Harrowgate.

Overall, we think this is a fantastic development. More businesses will have the opportunity to rent affordable industrial, office, and retail spaces in a transit-accessible location. The additional residents that will be attracted to Harrowgate because of this development will also help fuel these businesses as well as existing neighborhood businesses. This seems like a big win for the community and for the city of Philadelphia. How do you feel about this project?

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