Permits Issued for 77-Unit Adaptive Reuse Project in East Kensington

Viking Mill - 2019-53 E. Boston St.
Viking Mill – 2019-53 E. Boston St.

We’ve told you about more than 800 apartments across several projects that are in the planning phases, under construction, or recently completed surrounding the York-Dauphin El Station. Most recently, we told you about plans for 108 units on the site of an old auto body shop. Looks like there’s another development to add to the list. Just two days ago, permits were issued for another significant project on the property adjacent to the auto body shop.

You may be familiar with the Viking Mill artist / maker studio space that occupies a 5-story brick building between Boston Street, Hagert Street, and Coral Street in East Kensington. Urban Axes also occupies a 1-story building on the property. The structure originally housed the Arrott’s Steam Power Mills Company, which manufactured yarns.

Viking Mill - 2019-53 E. Boston St.
Viking Mill – 2019-53 E. Boston St.

It looks like the property may be changing uses once again. A zoning permit was issued on Wednesday for 77 residential units within the existing building and an industrial use on 50% of the ground level of all buildings on the property. The project will include 26 bicycle stalls.

We’re excited to see this building refreshed and are happy to see more residential units added so close to the train line. However, we don’t like seeing artist / maker studio space eliminated in the neighborhood. This section of the city has seen a massive evolution over the last 15 years or so. Artists, like the ones that work out of Viking Mill, are some of the pioneers that started the area’s renaissance. Maker spaces are becoming more and more rare in East Kensington, Fishtown, and the rest of the 19125 zip code. We imagine the artists working out of these spaces will migrate to further outskirts of the city to set up shop, joining other makers who have been pushed out of the neighborhood in years past. The cycle will repeat itself in the coming years as the next hot neighborhood is developed.

How do you feel about this project? Would you prefer Viking Mill to continue to be a maker space or do you like the plan to turn it into apartments?

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