Philly YIMBY’s recent site visit observed a complete absence of construction activity at 200 Spring Garden Street (also known as 200-24 Spring Garden Street), the site of a 13-story, 355-unit mixed-use tower planned in Northern Liberties, North Philadelphia, where a fitness center continues to operate. Designed by Handel Architects and developed by National Real Estate Development and the KRE Group, the new building will rise 177 feet to the top of the bulkhead (or 149 feet to the main roof) and offer nearly 298,668 square feet of residential space, 18,187 square feet of retail, an expansive roof deck, parking 106 cars and 116 bicycles, and a landscaped public promenade along the property’s west side.
None of this urban bounty, however, is even close to livening up this incredibly transit-accessible yet currently desolate corner of Southern Northern Liberties (also known as SoNo, to the delight of some and eyerolls of others). Our recent visit to the location showed that the Northern Liberties branch of City Fitness Philadelphia continues to operate as before. However, the stage looks set for redevelopment of the 57,787-square-foot lot, as a demo permit was issued for the in June, and another permit for both demolition and construction was issued in September.
City Fitness Northern Liberties is an impressive sports facility with tall ceilings, amply-sized activity spaces, and panoramic city imagery in the interior. Gym patrons are sure to miss the venue just as the passerby will miss the expansive, bicycling-themed mural that has livened up an otherwise dreary stretch of Spring Garden Street for just over ten years.
Despite its appeal, the sprawling, single-story gym makes for poor use of such a prime location. Situated at the southwest corner of Spring Garden Street and North 2nd Street, the site is located across the street from the Spring Garden Station on the Market-Frankford Line, which puts Old City to the south and Fishtown to the north within a five-minute ride. Conversely, both neighborhoods lie within a ten- to 15-minute walk. Even more proximate are the numerous eateries, venues, and other delights of Northern Liberties, as is the Delaware River waterfront, which is slated for an expansion of its promenade.
Although the mural at the gym’s exterior is attractive, two stories of retail will create a vast improvement of the pedestrian experience, while hundreds of new residents will generate lively pedestrian activity in the currently forlorn area, as will thousands of others that will eventually move in to the myriad of other developments slated to rise nearby.
The public plaza behind the building is intended to create a pedestrian-only extension of North American Street, which is planned to eventually connect with similar corridors behind three other structures proposed by the developer to the south (one of which is the 23-story, 397-unit tower planned at 412 North 2nd Street).
Given the benefits that redevelopment at 200 Spring Garden will offer to the neighborhood, we hope that on our next visit to the site we may discover construction fencing, bollards, machinery, or other signs of construction progress.