South Kensington is seeing some of the most new construction in Philadelphia, with many new apartment buildings and townhouses. But, some of the new development includes renovation of landmark neighborhood buildings, mostly former industrial buildings that have been vacant for a while. The tallest and largest such building in South Kensington is a former umbrella factory, dating back to 1909, at 1401 North 5th Street and at the intersection of 5th and Master Streets next to the Cruz Playground and park. It had been vacant for decades and was a major blight in the neighborhood. After three previous proposals to renovate the building had fallen through, Core Realty bought it and has recently renovated it into luxury apartments.
The Umbrella Building has 180 rental units. The studio apartments are all about 600 square feet and rent for $1,365 to $1,475 per month. The one-bedroom units are 644 to 742 square feet and rent for $1,500 to $1,800 per month. The two-bedroom units are 944 to 1,100 square feet and rent for $1,975 to $2,300 per month. There are two-bedroom units with one bath and others with two baths. Each unit has hardwood floors and Samsung smart home systems. The kitchens have breakfast bars with granite countertops, wooden cabinets, and Whirlpool brand refrigerators, gas oven/stoves, microwaves, and dishwashers. The bathrooms have Jacuzzi bathtubs, wooden sink cabinets with marble vanities, Pfister faucets, and Glacier Bay commodes. Each unit has Whirlpool brand washers and dryers and a living room ceiling fan. Every unit, also, has a large flat screen TV in the living room and a small flat screen TV in the bathroom, as well as, a Sony stereo sound system. The building has a fitness center, a mail and package room, a conference room, a lobby bar/cafe, a 24-hour concierge, and a rooftop deck and pool with grills, a large table, and expansive views of Center City, North Philadelphia, and the Delaware River and Riverward neighborhoods. There are about 175 parking spaces, in both a surface lot and a parking garage. The spaces in the surface lot are $75 to $100 per month and the spaces in the garage are $150 per month. The Umbrella Building is pet friendly. A large retail space on Master Street will soon be used by a Montessori School.
South Kensington has come a long way over the years. North Fifth Street is experiencing a building boom, especially a few blocks north of the Umbrella Building, where several large apartment and townhouse developments are planned or under construction at the intersections of North 5th Street and Berks, Montgomery, and Cecil B. Moore Avenues. Smaller renovations and developments of apartments and townhouses are occurring in the blocks all around the Umbrella Building. The Umbrella Building renovation is a dramatic bellwether of progress in South Kensington.