Old City-Northern Liberties dead zone
So I was never really sure- what's the deal with weird area between Old City and Northern Liberties with all the unused industrial parcels? One would think that with few residents currently in this area, this would be a developer's dream with no NIMBYism, huge lots, and no historic overlays. But I can only think of that one loft conversion on 4th street for all of the area's potential. What gives? Is there some overlay I am not aware of?
That area is known as the "Spring Garden Industrial District". Where you see long Manhattan-like superblocks, back in the day it had a complex and dense street network and lots of very old rowhomes--including a large sample of pre-Revolution wooden stock--as well as many large industries.
It was all cleared out for low-density warehousing and distribution uses, right in time for those uses to leave districts like it. Subsequent development has stayed mostly low-density and suburban in nature.
However, you are right that the area seems more primed for high-density downtown-adjacent uses. PIDC sees the area as transitioning away from industrial uses, which opens the door to larger-floorplate developments.
For my part, I would like to see at least parts of the street network re-established. Noble Street in particular. Relatively little of the old street grid has actually been built on--much of it is preserved in the form of parking lots.
"It was one of those moments that would have had dramatic music if my life were a movie, but instead I got a radio jingle for some kind of submarine sandwich blaring over the store's ambient stereo. Man, the movie of my life must be really low-budget." Dead Beat
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Some references to the "East Callowhill Urban Renewal Area" here: Obliterated | Hidden City Philadelphia
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