Plans for developer Roland Kassis’s Fishtown hotel at 1224 Frankford Ave. first surfaced in February of 2015 at a Fishtown Neighborhood Association meeting. The proposal was for a 125 room hotel to be built on a vacant lot with restaurant space on the ground floor and a rooftop pool. The project also included a co-working space that was to be built out in an adjacent old 7-story structure that had history as a brewery, pickle factory, and ice storage facility. The old building gained fame in 2014 when Shepard Fairey created his “Lotus Diamond” mural on the blank north side of the warehouse.
Over time, plans slightly changed for the hotel project. We learned about these changes in a March 2017 zoning admin review permit. The hotel unit count was brought down to 114, the office space was expanded, and the restaurant space was relocated. Although we are not 100% clear on where the restaurant space will now be, the permit mentions it will utilize a “deck area,” and may have space on the first and fifth floors.
Another major change for the project materialized in September of 2018 when demolition permits were pulled for the 7-story structure. Demolition of the Frankford Ave. facing building proceeded in December of 2018. The back part of the old building was not demolished and we believe will be incorporated into the hotel project. There have been no updated renderings or project plans released publicly that illustrate what the structure will look like without the 7-story structure included.
Since demolition, we haven’t seen much activity on the site. However, we recently realized that new construction permits for foundation work were pulled on April 2nd:
NEW CONSTRUCTION OF FOUNDATIONS ONLY FOR A NEW MIXED USE BUILDING AS PER APPROVED PLANS. WORK TO INCLUDE UNDERPINNING TO BE MONITORED BY A PA LICENSED PE AT ALL TIMES. *SEPARATE PERMITS REQUIRED FOR CONSTRUCTION OF REMAINDER OF BUILDING*
We have still not seen any digging happening on the site, but this permit may be a sign that the ground breaking will happen soon. On the other hand, this project has been years in the making and we would not be surprised if another delay happened. We are crossing our fingers that this white whale of a hotel starts rising soon. We will be sure to keep you updated on any progress we become aware of.
Kyle is a commercial real estate agent at Rittenhouse Realty Advisors, a homeowner, and a real estate investor in Philadelphia. Kyle uses his extensive Philadelphia real estate market knowledge to help his clients buy and sell multifamily investment properties, development opportunities, and industrial sites.
Email Kyle@RittenhouseRealty.com if you are looking to buy or sell a property