Permits have been issued for the construction of a 150-unit mixed-use building at 2400-12 East Huntingdon Street (also known as 2400 East Huntingdon Street) in Olde Richmond, Kensington. Designed by KCA Design Associates, the building will rise seven stories tall, a height that was permitted via a zoning bonus for the inclusion of a fresh food market on the ground floor. An industrial-commercial space will also be located in the ground floor. Apartments will be situated on floors two through seven. In total, the structure will hold 122,500 square feet of space. An underground garage will hold 45 parking spaces, with three to be ADA compliant, and three more reserved for electric vehicles. The development will also include 50 bicycle spaces. Construction costs are estimated at $18 million.
The building will feature a modern exterior that will use a variety of materials. Red cladding will cover the majority of the façade, with alternating shades of panels forming contrast with one another. Red brick will be used on the bottom two floors as well in piers rising the building’s full height, which will add further contrast. The seventh floor will feature gray cladding. The most noticeable element of design, however, are the balconies rising in vertical bays, which will provide residents with outdoor space.
The new building will replace a vacant industrial property, one of many scattered throughout Kensington. This particular building features a red brick exterior and rises three stories at its highest point, although the majority of the structure stands one story high. A lone smokestack rises from the center of the building. Its demolition is unfortunate as the building appears to be a prime candidate for potential reuse, to be renovated and possibly filled with residential units and/or artist studios, industrial space, or some form of commercial element throughout the single-story portion.
The development has received major backlash at the time of its unveiling, which in part helped lead to a redesign, although the size and massing of the project remained the same (take a look at our article from October 2020 to see the prior design). A certain group of neighbors in the surrounding area formed a group titled Build Like You Live Here, a organization protesting against the planned building’s construction. The opposition criticized the proposal’s seven-story height in a neighborhood of two-story row homes, its use of a fresh food market for the height increase given the alleged presence of other grocery stores nearby, and the developer’s supposedly shaky track record with previous projects, among other issues. The building’s design and bulk will certainly stand out and be easily visible from many angles. It will be a matter of how the structure ages to determine if this is a positive or negative. It does seem like an adaptive reuse of the past building would have been a nice compromise, providing density within a pre-exiting building, but that ship has sailed, as demolition work has already dismantled much of the structure.
YIMBY will track the building’s progress moving forward.
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I remember how the city found spurious reasons to hold up demolition by a demolition company on grounds they did not get a permit to do the job. The demolition company had started tearing down the building only to have police stop the work by a councilman’s orders to placate aggrieved neighbors who refused to believe the project was a by right project and took the law on their hands. The building stayed in a dangerous state of collapse for many months with the city taking a calculated risk to stop demolition and hoped a collapse would not happen.
The developer locked tenants at another apartment thus involving the state attorney general who got a court injunction to open the apartment. The developer flew to vacation outside the US when this was happening .
They got the permit to demolish and build, was it the same developer or did he pass the project to another developer?
There IS a smaller subset of neighbors who were dismissive of the by-right status of the project, but they were not the reason the construction was halted multiple times. It was for demonstrably unsafe demolition without adequate safety precautions.
Debris was falling into the street with no street closure permits or materials blocking the debris from falling onto pedestrian areas and power lines. This was because they were using machinery to demo the top floors instead of taking those floors down by hand until the building was at a safer height for machine work.
Believe me, those of us who have been in the block radius of the project and reporting items of concern were also horrified that the demolition was left in a dangerous state multiple times. The site was not secured well and in the event of high enough winds, we were sure shards of debris were going to fall on neighbors. When we reported safety issues the first time they were stopped, we were told the developer had to come back with proper safety precautions in place “in a few days.” But the work laid stagnant for much longer than that with large chunks of the building swinging around in the wind. We were all extremely frustrated and nervous about it being left like that too.
There is video footage of the demo crew knocking over an entire window onto a power line, snapping it and causing an explosion. PECO had to work overnight to repair the power, and they snapped the same line again the next day -THEN they got another stop work order.
We weren’t just complaining for the sake of complaining, it was truly unsafe. I, for one, would love to see something be built there, but I don’t trust this developer at all given his track record, let alone based on how the demolition went right before my eyes. Not only for the same of the current neighbors, but I want my future neighbors to have a safe, well constructed, durable building to call home. With this developer’s behavior towards his current tenants at the Fishtown apartments formerly known as Moscow and Monica, and the unfinished and shoddy state of those buildings, I seriously doubt the final product will deliver.
This is an area that NEEDS more apartments. My single sister in law currently lives with me and she can’t find an affordable place to rent with her Veterinary Office Receptionist salary anywhere nearby. Not everyone can rent an entire row home – not everyone wants to. We’re lucky to have bought our home when we did, but that’s not an option for a lot of Philly residents.
It’s such a missed opportunity for an adaptive reuse for so many reasons, and that’s a disappointment, but I mostly just do not trust this developer to build something that will actually provide what the kind of affordable, accessible, and durable density we need.
Ps. It is the same developer. He met with Squilla about being open to selling, but wanted double what he paid for the property and kept raising the price. There were no less than three developers that came forward with offers and he strung them along for months with what I can only imagine was no intention of selling in the end. Such a shame.
Kind of too bad to loose that industrial building, it would have looked great restored for an arts center or brewery. Hate to see chimneys disappear.
On a side note, those are some of the better renderings I’ve ever seen. I had to confirm those streetview ones were in fact renderings.
Wish they would have done an overbuild, the building that is/was there was beautiful, they easily could have added a brick faced with 3-4 stories on top if they tried.
The redesign looks better and the height may look strange but I approve of it, we need more 7-8 story buildings to density the city and encourage cheaper apartments
Absolutely disgraceful project.
Correction, the original building has been fully demolished and gone for months now. The site was left dormant for some time and the sidewalks left blocked by fencing well after their streets permits expiried, creating a street safety hazard, along two bus routes and an emergency vehicle route. The developer finally had the fencing moved back after neighbors contacted him directly, copying district councilman Mark Squilla, when reporting to 311 did not seem to work The site has been vacant long enough for grass to grow.
I looked at the LI site but couldn’t determine the exact Builder … just curious does anyone know for sure who the developer is?
The developer is gagandeep lakhmna— Google his name and you will see why neighbors opposed the construction of this building. This person should not be permitted to continue to build in this city- it’s ridiculous that someone with such an egregious record can continue to put so many additional tenants at future risk.