A permit has been issued for the construction of a four-story, eight-unit residential building at 203-09 Diamond Street in Norris Square, North Philadelphia. The structure will replace a vehicle maintenance facility located at the northeast corner of Diamond Street and North Philip Street. The structure will rise from a 2,304-square-foot footprint and will contain 11,520 square feet of floor space. Permits list Blackrock Capital LLC as the owner, Nicholas Coulter of KCA Design Associates, LLC as the architect, and Adam Pearlman as the contractor. Construction is expected to cost $800,000.
Renderings show an understated yet elegant structure with a rusticated red brick façade, cantilevered sections clad in dark metal panels, and floor-to-ceiling windows and Juliet balconies facing Diamond Street. Beige bands at the base, along the floorplates, and at the cornice add a light touch to an otherwise dark composition and provide a horizontal element to counterbalance vertical projecting piers.
Ground-level sconces will further enliven the pedestrian experience at the sidewalk, which will already be greatly boosted by the virtue of having a street wall-aligned residential building replacing a fenced-in parking lot. The only detraction from the pedestrian experience will be the removal of a plain yet uplifting mural that graces the lot wall of the auto maintenance facility, as reviewed in YIMBY’s last update on the project from December of last year. The mural, which shows an allegory of international cooperation, was painted as a youth works project in 1996.
Floor plans and elevations indicate that the building will include a cellar, which will feature two recreation spaces, storage, and mechanical space, and will receive natural light via sunken light wells. Each of the main floors will hold two units, with one-bedroom apartments at the ground floor and two-bedroom units on each floor above. A shared resident deck will span nearly the entirety of the roof and will offer dramatic skyline views, given the structure’s future prominence above its low-rise surroundings.
The surrounding neighborhood managed to retain much of its prewar building stock. However, plenty of vacant and underbuilt sites remain scattered across the surrounding blocks, which promise to offer fertile ground for future construction. A variety of new projects are in various stages of progress or have been recently finished along North 2nd Street and North American Street, which run a half a block to the east and a block to the west, respectively. The area maintains appeal for further construction with its adjacency to the Market-Frankford Line, access to nearby Norris Square Park, ten-minute walking distance to the retail district in Fishtown to the south, and 15-minute walking proximity to Temple University to the west.