Two large vacant lots on Front Street near Tiptop Playground were put up on the market by the city last month, and over 80 developers have already looked into the project, according to Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) real estate manager Liz Gabor.
“I think there’s a lot of interest,” Gabor said about the lots at 1049-69 N. Front St. and 1101-19 N. Front St., both situated between Northern Liberties and Fishtown. These sites were formerly occupied by a Kensington Manufacturing Company cotton waste factory and the Best Kid Company Leather Works, a tannery. The city took ownership of these lots in 1974.
Gabor said that there have been some international developers downloading the request for proposals (RFP), as well as some local developers, but that no information about specific proposals will be released until after the Feb. 8, 2013 deadline.
“Residential mixed-use would be an obvious good use for that land,” said Northern Liberties Association (NLNA) Zoning Committee Chairman Larry Freedman said of the lots. “I think residential with a nice commercial first floor would be great.”
“Nobody’s going to want to see a night club,” he added.
The PIDC’s RFP touts the burgeoning young population in Fishtown and Northern Liberties as evidence that the neighborhood is on the up and up, noting as evidence developments including the Superfresh at 2nd and Girard, the Piazza at Schmidt’s residential and retail complex, the Thin Flats LEED certified residences, and Frankford Hall Beer Garden as signs of increasing interest in the neighborhood.
Fishtown and Northern Liberties, from 2000 to 2010, had a rate of 112 percent growth in the population of residents aged 20 to 29, higher than any other part of Philadelphia. The growth was 22 percent citywide.
These lots also may benefit from their proximity to the location of Core Realty’s planned Canal St. North entertainment complex, which is slated to bring a large music venue, a bar, a restaurant, bowling alley and retail space to Frankford Avenue and Richmond Street.
Reporter Sam Newhouse can be reached at 215-354-3124 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.