Will new ‘NY-Style’ lofts connect Fishtown and Northern Liberties?

The pro­ject man­ager of an in-con­struc­tion apart­ment com­plex — once ad­vert­ised as be­ing in Fishtown, but really in Kens­ing­ton — says that the liv­ing space will be a high­light of what will be called the "Amer­ic­an Street Arts Cor­ridor."

A re­cent Craigslist ad ad­vert­ising “high-end liv­ing” and “NY-style lofts” at­trac­ted plenty of at­ten­tion from blogs for list­ing a Kens­ing­ton ad­dress as Fishtown.

The ori­gin­al ad is now down, but pro­claimed, “Phil­adelphia Fishtown / North­ern Liber­ties com­munity has spoken and we are bring­ing to the com­munity ex­actly what you have asked for!”

Pho­tos of in­dus­tri­al-style apart­ments with ex­posed sheet­rock walls and pipes were in­cluded on list­ings for 750-square-foot, one-bed­room apart­ments avail­able at $750 a month.

The ad­dress, 178 W. Hunt­ing­don St., between Mut­ter and Han­cock streets, is an area known as the “Bad­lands,” where crim­in­al activ­ity is vis­ible to ped­es­tri­ans and po­lice patrols are fre­quent.

The ad­dress is not far out­side the bor­ders of the East Kens­ing­ton Neigh­bors As­so­ci­ation’s bound­ar­ies, but is not in Fishtown or North­ern Liber­ties, to be sure.

But des­pite the area’s repu­ta­tion, the level of com­munity in­terest in the ini­tial Craigslist ad was al­most over­whelm­ing, said de­sign­er and pro­ject man­ager Rus­sell Ma­honey, who is work­ing on the pro­ject for Shovel Ready LLC, which owns the site.

“We just wanted to see how people would re­spond,” Ma­honey said of the Craigslist ad.

Ma­honey also said that while the Craigslist ad called the build­ing’s neigh­bor­hood “Fishtown,” it tech­nic­ally is West Kens­ing­ton. He said, though, the apart­ments will be part of a newly-des­ig­nated re­gion.

“We’re gonna start call­ing it ‘the Amer­ic­an Street Arts Cor­ridor,’ which con­nects Fishtown and North­ern Liber­ties,” Ma­honey said.

Real es­tate list­ings have been known to ad­vert­ise ad­dresses out­side of Fishtown or North­ern Liber­ties as be­long­ing to those neigh­bor­hoods — a 2012 art­icle by Chris­toph­er Mor­aff for The Philly Post states, “Sadly there ap­pears to be little pre­vent­ing cre­at­ive re­altors from fudging the bound­ar­ies for mar­ket­ing pur­poses. Since we’ve lived in the neigh­bor­hood I’ve seen houses as far north as Hunt­ing­don Street – a clear eight blocks past York Street – lis­ted as be­ing in Fishtown.”

Mor­aff’s own home is in Kens­ing­ton, but was lis­ted as be­ing in Fishtown.

Either way, Ma­honey said the people  in­ter­ested in liv­ing at 178 W. Hunt­ing­don are “cre­at­ive types all the way to cor­por­a­tions.”

North Amer­ic­an Street runs from Kens­ing­ton down in­to North­ern Liber­ties, and is the ad­dress of the Crane Arts Cen­ter at North Amer­ic­an and Mas­ter streets, which rents space to about 40 artists and arts groups.

No mat­ter the ad­dress, the 40,000-square-foot former rib­bon fact­ory has already at­trac­ted over 40 ser­i­ous in­quir­ies, even though it will only have about 25 res­id­en­tial units, Ma­honey said. The pro­ject is sched­uled to be fin­ished around Novem­ber 2013.

“We couldn’t keep up with the emails, they were just pour­ing in,” Ma­honey said.

Last week, Ma­honey was on-site with a team clean­ing out debris from the former fact­ory. He said the pro­ject has got­ten a lot of verbal sup­port from neigh­bors, com­munity mem­bers and loc­al busi­ness own­ers.

“People are re­spond­ing ex­tremely well to do­ing something on Hunt­ing­don be­sides Temple [Uni­versity Hos­pit­al],” Ma­honey said.

Eth­eline Gil­christ, a res­id­ent of the area, said she thinks pro­ject will be good for the neigh­bor­hood.

“It’s com­ing back up,” she said.

Ma­honey said that ad­vert­ising “NY-style” lofts is a styl­ist­ic choice, rather than a way to make the apart­ments sound more at­tract­ive.

“It’s not a New York thing at all. The people in­volved with this are very proud of Phil­adelphia,” he said. “We’re Philly, through and through.”

Ma­honey said that people on the wait­ing list for apart­ments at 178 W. Hunt­ing­don St. will still get the $750 monthly rent rate men­tioned in the ori­gin­al ad, whenev­er the pro­ject is fin­ished.

For ques­tions about rent­ing space at 178 W. Hunt­ing­don St., email magella.re@gmail.com.

Re­port­er Sam Ne­w­house can be reached at 215-354-3124 or at sne­w­house@bsmphilly.com.

You can reach at snewhouse@bsmphilly.com.

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