South and East Kensington have been seeing some of the most new development in Philadelphia in recent years. The redevelopment tended to stop at Lehigh Avenue, which like Girard Avenue ten years ago, seemed to be the dividing line between the rapidly redeveloping neighborhoods and the neighborhoods to the north that have remained little changed. Now, Riverwards Group and KJO Architects are redeveloping a large vacant lot at Lehigh and Frankford Avenues, at 2035 East Lehigh Avenue, into a residential and retail community. The site is next to the Lehigh Viaduct, on the boundary between South Kensington and Fairhill, in the heart of Kensington. The new community would be called Kensington Courts, further identifying it as a reimagining of Kensington.
Kensington Courts will have 155 total residential units. The units include 60 townhomes, twelve duplex rental units, and 71 rental apartments in five buildings nearest to Frankford Avenue. The five apartment buildings will have a total of four commercial spaces on Lehigh Avenue. The complex will have multiple entrances and pathways leading inside to the amenities, including a landscaped courtyard, a dog park, and an outdoor fitness area. The complex will have 158 parking spaces, with some electric charging stations, and 104 bicycle parking spaces and bike racks at the main entrance on Lehigh Avenue. Lehigh and Frankford Avenues will have new street trees and new lighting and the site will have stormwater management features.
Development on Lehigh Avenue helps improve a long neglected area. It encourages redevelopment further into Kensington and North Philadelphia and leads to reduced crime and blight in these neighborhoods. It, also, means more retail and activity on a major thoroughfare and a once thriving commercial corridor.