A number of significant mid- and high-rise buildings are currently proposed in the sparsely developed zone in southern Northern Liberties, just north of Old City. One of these proposals is 412 North 2nd Street, which was presented in great detail in a recent Civic Design Review submission. Designed by Morris Adjmi Architects, the tower will rise 244 feet and 23 stories high, easily making it one of the tallest buildings in the area. There will be 397 residential units included in the tower, 20,431 square feet of retail space, and 105 parking spaces.
The tower will feature an attractive modern exterior utilizing an industrial-chic design that has become very popular in recent years. A brick podium will be located at street level and make for a stately presence at the sidewalk level, with large windows welcoming passersbys into the interior retail and residential spaces. The upper tower portion utilizes colored cladding, providing more contrast and texture. Large floor-to-ceiling windows will cover the majority of the façade, with gray cladding between each window. Black cladding will separate large groups of windows, spanning three across and four tall, pleasantly framing the project’s uniform exterior.
Meanwhile, the adjacent retail structure will feature a simpler yet still interesting, exterior. Large windows will again help welcome potential customers to the interior space. These windows will be bordered by light gray metal paneling that will fill the remainder of the exterior space.
While parking is included in the development as well as a single curb cut, the project clearly prioritizes pedestrians and cyclists over the usage of the automobile. The site currently holds a bland industrial property that presents a foreboding environment on the street and makes for an unpleasant and unsafe pedestrian experience. As they have done with other projects, National Real Estate plans to revitalize the high-potential area by returning it to the pedestrian and adding residential density, commercial space, and unique pedestrian attractions.
One of the pedestrian destinations is a planned, one block long pedestrian-only street that will be lined with retail and restaurant space. Bordered by the tower and commercial structure, the walkway will include trees as well as a variety of outdoor dining spaces, seating spaces, and garden areas. The walkway will be unique compared to most other places throughout the city and will provide a destination in itself, potentially drawing people from throughout the city to stroll through the new space. This will also help encourage more pedestrians to venture into the currently auto centric area and will continue to help with its revitalization.
Another unique space that will be brought with the development is the planned public area on the southeast corner of the lot. The site partially sits under an I-95 overpass. Rather than letting the presence of the highway infrastructure hurt the property, the architects instead embrace it. The renderings show artwork located around the pillars of the highway. Cobblestone will help separate the park area from the sidewalk and will border a variety of public seating and garden space.
The high density and impressive commercial and pedestrian options included in the development will provide a perfect anchor for the southeast corner of the future neighborhood. When fully realized, the area will bridge Old City and Northern Liberties, two of Philadelphia’s most vibrant neighborhoods. With the proposed design of this project and the overall potential for the area, it is easy to see that this neighborhood could soon be a worthy neighbor of the vibrant and desirable neighborhoods to its north and south.
Philly YIMBY will update readers as more progress is made on the project in the future.