After permits had been issued over a year ago in November 2021, renovation work appears to finally have started at Engine 29 Firehouse, an adaptive reuse development at 1221-25 North 4th Street in Olde Kensington, as noted in a recent site visit by Philadelphia YIMBY. The development will involve a rear five-story addition to the existing three-story firehouse. The ground floor of the existing structure will be renovated into commercial space, while the upper floors will be converted into nine residential units. Designed by Continuum Architecture, the new addition will allow the development to include an additional 20 residential units, as well as parking for 14 cars and 15 bicycles.
From the outside, the work is not apparent at all, with no construction fending of major equipment visible on the sidewalk. However, our visit took place when the central gate into the building was open, lending us a glimpse into the interior where it appears that some form of renovation work is now underway.
The structure is notable for its exquisite ornamentation wrought in a Romanesque Revival style. The new addition, with its facade of red brick and what appears to be copper paneling that will weather into a pleasant green patina, will be a proper addition to the stately original building, while a series of cascading green roofs and roof decks will effectively integrate the elevation change.
The Route 15 trolley runs half a block to the south on Girard Avenue, and the Girard Station on the Market-Frankford Line is situated within a ten-minute walk to the southeast. The project at 1221-25 North 4th Street promises to be a fine addition to the neighborhood, and we look forward to further progress on the development.
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When you get a permit in November 2021 and you can’t get started right away, something is wrong. It could be aggrieved neighbors filing appeal or Councilmantic privilege holding up a go ahead to build or frequent runs to the Historical Commission for material change approvals.
Either way a handsome building will soon open to all comers when completed