A recent site visit by Philly YIMBY has discovered that construction work is nearing completion at a five-story, 63-unit mixed-use development at 2315 North Front Street in East Kensington. Designed by HDO Architecture, the building spans 59,172 square feet and features ground-floor commercial space, a roof deck, and parking for 22 bicycles. Permits list Knight Rider Construction as the contractor and specify a construction cost of $6 million.
2315 North Front Street is situated on the east side of the block between Jasper and East York streets, right across from the Berks Station on the Market-Frankford elevated line. The development replaces a series of budget stores situated within an ensemble of two-story prewar rowhouses, which were shuttered around 2015 and demolished around 2016. Sporting brown-brick facades, arched Juliet balconies, and corbelled cornices, the rowhouses were rather attractive (as well as appropriate in scale in relation to the commercial corridor), the buildings suffered from years of alterations, neglect, and dilapidation. Although we wish the structures’ facades were restored and incorporated into the new development, their demolition for the new project is quite justified.
In turn, the new structure features an appealing, sophisticated exterior. Dark gray brick delineates clear dimensional hierarchies, with horizontal stacked bond spanning protruding vertical piers, and vertical stacked bond composing slightly recessed spandrels. Floor-to-ceiling windows are encased in black metal frames that match the brick. Although the installation of the still-missing sections of the facade will determine its ultimate quality, we are quite satisfied with the result so far, which currently appears more attractive than the renderings.
2315 North Front Street is a significant improvement for the site as it contributes a large volume of new housing stock and energizes the street with brand new retail space. If we were to raise any issue with the development, it would be that it is not large enough for a lot that sits directly across from a train station. In order to satisfy the city’s demand for new housing and to maximize the use of mass transit, we urge the planning department to significantly upzone transit-adjacent blocks throughout the city.