Construction Permits Issued for 128-Unit Building in Kensington

175 W Oxford St Rendering
Rendering of the 128-unit building on the Hancock St. side of the property

The megablock between 2nd St., Hancock St., Oxford St., and Turner St. has been sitting vacant for years as South Kensington has boomed with development around it. Plans for the 60,000 square foot, RSA-5 zoned property at 175 W. Oxford St. came to light in 2019 when developers proposed 159 residential units, more than 32,000 square feet of commercial space, 51 car parking spots, and 70 bicycle stalls on the parcel.

vacant lot at 175 W. Oxford St
The vacant lot at 175 W. Oxford St. – from Hancock and Oxford

The development team planned on preserving and overbuilding the existing 2-story warehouse on the northwest corner of the lot, creating 16 apartments with ground floor retail on that section of the site. To the south of this building, 15 townhouses were planned at the corner of 2nd and Oxford. On the Hancock St. side of the parcel, the development team planned a 6-story, 128-unit building with ground floor commercial space.

175 W. Oxford St adaptive reuse
The building that will be preserved
175 W. Oxford St rendering
Rendering of the townhomes and overbuild

As 175 W. Oxford St. is zoned for single family homes, the developers had to pursue a variance for the project in order to proceed with their proposal. The plan ended up receiving approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) in January of 2020. However, since then, there has not been any action on the site.

It looks like work could soon get underway. Just today, commercial building permits were issued for the 128-unit building on the east side of the site. The building will be just under 110,000 total square feet and will include ground floor commercial space and 33 car parking spots. The drive aisle will be located on Turner St. and 100% of the Hancock Street frontage will be dedicated to retail. The residential entrance and lobby will be located on Oxford St.

175 W Oxford St Rendering
175 W Oxford St. – Aerial Rendering

There have been slight modifications to other aspects of the project. According to zoning permits posted on the site, the building that is being adaptively reused will now hold retail, office space, and only 8 apartments. There will also only be 14 townhouses built. Construction permits for the townhomes were issued in January.

All in all, this looks like a very nice project that will activate a long-vacant piece of land that sits in the middle of South Kensington and close to the Market-Frankford Line. It’s also great to see the existing building preserved and so much commercial space included in this project. As this project and the many other proposals come online, South Kensington is going to continue to evolve as a neighborhood with more people and businesses joining the community.

How do you feel about this project? What kind of businesses would you like to see open here?

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