East Kensington and Olde Richmond have seen an explosion of new residential development over the last several years as the energy of Fishtown has bled into these two adjacent neighborhoods. Although the area has seen an influx of new residents, the retail scene has lagged behind. We have seen some new businesses open up in the neighborhood. However, many of the people that live in East Kensington and Olde Richmond still need to walk south down Frankford Avenue for a large selection of restaurant, bar, and retail options.
Recently, the area around Frankford Avenue and Huntingdon St. has really begun to develop. We told you about a 31-unit mixed-use project that is under construction near this intersection. We also told you that two warehouses at Trenton and Huntingdon are getting converted into 39 residential units and retail spaces. There are a ton of other smaller new construction mixed-use projects just south of Huntingdon on Frankford Avenue. Hello Donuts cafe just opened on this stretch as well. So, things are starting to pick up pace. As more residential density comes to the neighborhood, we imagine this will fuel more retail businesses to open.
Another project that will help add residential and retail density to this section of the neighborhood received support from the East Kensington Neighborhood Association (EKNA) last week. Abitare Design Studio and Bedrock Real Estate Partners proposed a 5-story, 63-foot high project with 20 residential units, ground floor retail, and 7 bicycle parking spaces. They are calling the development Frankford Flats. The project would replace two vacant lots and two blighted buildings at 2620-26 Frankford Ave. The parcels were acquired for $725,000 in March and the buildings have already been demolished. Although the project received neighborhood support, the owners will still need to appear before the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) on August 21st as a 63-foot tall building is not allowed by-right on this 5,895 square foot CMX-2 zoned lot.
We think this is an excellent project and we would be excited to see additional residents and retail space added to this section of Frankford Avenue if the project is approved by the ZBA. The site is 0.3 miles from the Huntingdon El Station, so we think it is fantastic that no space in the development will be wasted for use as car storage. There are about to be hundreds of new residents in the neighborhood when the Kensington Courts project wraps up. New owners are just beginning to move into that development. 56 new apartments in the modular project on East York St. will also bring more residents to East Kensington. These new residents will be looking for places to shop, wine, and dine. We hope that they can start walking north towards Lehigh Ave. rather than south towards Girard.
How do you feel about this development? What kind of retail business would you like to see open on the ground floor of 2620-26 Frankford Avenue?