86 Units + Commercial Space Coming to Kensington’s Harbison’s Dairy Building

Harbison's Dairy under renovation
Harbison’s Dairy under renovation from Abigail St.

What a long strange stretch these last 6 weeks have been. With construction resuming on Friday, we figured it would be a good time to start bringing you more Philadelphia development news. Hopefully, this will be the start of a return to some semblance of normal life.

If you live anywhere near Kensington, you’re likely familiar with the rusted old milk bottle floating in the sky near Front and Coral St. The building was originally constructed in the 1860’s for Robert Harbison and his dairy business. In 1915, the milk bottle was hoisted on top of the roof and was used to supply water to the sprinkler system throughout the facility. In the 1960’s, Harbison’s Dairy started selling off their assets and Southland Dairy purchased the building. 1990 marked the last year the facility was used for dairy operations. The building was most recently used as a storage warehouse.

In January of 2018, the building and its iconic milk bottle were added to the Philadelphia local historic registrar, protecting them from demolition and unapproved alteration. The property was later sold in April of 2019 for $4.4 million.

Harbison's Dairy under construction
Harbison’s Dairy under construction from Front St.

Restoration plans have been coming to fruition for the building for quite some time, with unit counts and layouts slightly changing throughout the process. However, it now looks like we have a clear picture of what is going to happen at the site, and work is already underway.

A two-story addition is being added to the building, raising the milk bottle up along with it. The rusty icon will be restored to its former glory, and will hopefully shine for decades to come.

Harbison's Dairy Rendering
Harbison’s Dairy Rendering
Harbison's Dairy Rendering
Harbison’s Dairy Rendering

There will be 86 residential units in the building, along with a roughly 20,000 square foot office for Pop Promos, a promotional products business currently located in Northern Liberties. The development team will also include a 1,300 square foot event space and hopes to add a cafe to the ground floor. The building will sport a roof deck, a dog park, a boutique fitness studio, 6 car parking spots, and 12 bike spaces.

What a transformation for this complex! This development will surely be a boon for the area that is already exploding with growth. Just across the street, we told you about a 24-unit building rising. Behind that project, a 14-unit + retail structure is planned. Another 39 units are rising within a mixed-use building right across Front Street. A 17-unit + retail project is nearing completion south of that project on Front St. These are all within 1 square block, which is pretty incredible.

Just as the Harbison’s Dairy building is being brought back to life, we hope that life can be gradually brought back to the streets of Philadelphia in the coming weeks and months. In closing, we’d like to give a shout out to all of the essential workers that have been crushing it around the city during the pandemic and to all of the citizens that have been doing their part to help stop the spread of Covid-19. This too shall pass and we will all be stronger on the other side.

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