Vacant Warehouse in South Kensington to Become Mixed-Use Building
By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor
A Philadelphia-based real estate company has plans to transform the former truck repair facility at 1601-23 N. Front Street into a more entertainment-oriented space.
According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, D3 Real Estate Development acquired the 21,142-square-foot vacant property for $600,000 from Reliable Autobody in a deal that was brokered by Michael Barmash of Colliers International.
Sitting within a few blocks from D3’s acclaimed Oxford Mills site—a $35 million renovation and reconversion project that will transform a former lamp factory at Front and Oxford Streets into retail and residential space for teachers—the warehouse serves as a link between three of Philadelphia’s growing neighborhoods: Northern Liberties, Fishtown and South Kensington. D3’s new adaptive reuse project on Front Street will include retail and office space, a restaurant, a fitness center and even a micro-brewery and space for live shows, the news source reports.
Kensington was once known as a working class district and one of the busiest centers of the textile industry and its brick-clad structures—or what’s left of them—reflect the neighborhood’s industrial past. However, post-war deindustrialization took its toll during the ‘50s and a large number of factories and homes were abandoned as large manufacturers
shut down their businesses, forcing a large part of the population to relocate to other parts of the city or even outside of Philadelphia.
But what might look like a sad picture has become a gold mine for real estate developers and investors such as D3. Some of Kensington’s vacant and derelict properties have already been repurposed as apartment buildings and offices that are luring back residents and companies. One major redevelopment project in particular—the former Absco Inc. steel plant that Canus Corp. wanted to turn into a multi-million dollar residential and retail complex—caught our attention again recently. According to the Journal, Canus Corp. is no longer interested in developing the already-approved project and it has retained Newmark Grubb Knight Frank to market the shovel-ready Soko Lofts (rendering at left) for roughly $10 million.
Images via Google Maps and PlanPhilly.com