South Kensington Continues to Grow
Yet another midrise apartment complex will be built in the South Kensington neighborhood, just north of Girard Avenue. This new apartment development will be built between Second Street and American Street, just south of Thompson Street, and will replace a one story warehouse covered in a colorful mural. It is across Thompson Street from the site where Soko Lofts apartments will soon be built and across American Street from the site of Liberty Square apartments, which is currently under construction. This new development is at 1222 N. Second Street. It is being developed by Blackstone and designed by Harman Deutsch architects.
The new apartment complex will have a very contemporary look and will have setbacks on the upper floors which will create several terraces. It will be five stories tall and it will house 68 residential units above the first floor. The first floor will have eight additional live/work units, with room for artists’ studios and galleries facing Second Street, and two retail spaces facing American Street. There will be 56 parking spaces, contained in a mechanical parking garage in the middle of the complex, and space for 29 bikes. The apartments, above the first floor, would have one and two bedroom units. The one bedroom units would be an average of about 800 square feet and the two bedroom units would be an average of 1,350 square feet. Each unit will have a balcony. The façade will be covered in charcoal colored brick, silver and white metal panels, and large picture windows. The sidewalks will have new street trees and bike racks for public use. The entrance to the apartments will be on Thompson Street and the entrance for the mechanical parking garage will be on American Street.
The developers would need zoning variances for residential use, since the site is zoned for industrial use only, and for the balconies and to have mechanical parking. The developers have met with, and received approval from, South Kensington Community Partners, the local Registered Community Organization for the neighborhood. The developers have talked to the Planning Commission and have appeared in front of the Planning Commission’s Civic Design Review board, where the immediate neighbors at 1220 North Second Street voiced their support for the project. Once the developers get approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment for the use, balcony, and parking variances, they would be able to complete financing and begin construction sometime this year.
This continued development along North American Street is another example of the trend of this formerly industrial area progressing into a more residential and creative area. Several new developments are bringing traditional apartment units, live/work spaces, modern office and artistic studio space, gallery spaces, and retail to American Street, Second Street, and Germantown Avenue and are creating a new path for the South Kensington neighborhood, similar to what has been happening in Northern Liberties, just to the south, for quite a while now.
By, Gabriel Gottlieb