Trenton Avenue, which begins in the triangle where Fishtown, East Kensington and Port Richmond overlap, is a broad thoroughfare that once was a bustling industrial corridor. Now, save for one day a year, it’s mostly a quiet residential street.
Chad Luderman, CEO of Postgreen Homes, believes this transformation was a mistake. Not that he wants to bring back industry, but rather, it’s that a street this wide makes for a natural commercial corridor. (It certainly makes a great setting for an arts festival and kinetic sculpture race.)
It may be too late to add commerce to the rest of the street, but Luderman's going to at least try to salvage a little stretch of it.
Postgreen Homes is currently in the early stages of design work on a mixed-use residential-retail project it will build at the corner of Trenton Avenue and Arizona Street, right where Frankford Avenue, Trenton Avenue and York Street meet.
The project, which has yet to receive one of Postgreen's whimisical names, is a four-story building that will contain six residences - it's not clear yet whether they will be condominiums or rental apartments, but Luderman says "we're leaning towards apartments now" - on the upper three floors and a 2,500-square-foot commercial space on the ground floor.
"We're looking for a restaurant tenant" for the commercial space, Luderman said. "We really love this intersection," he continued. "It's a six-point intersection, and it could be an interesting retail destination." Two local businesses that have gained fans citywide, Pizza Brain and Little Baby's Ice Cream, are located just down Frankford Avenue from this intersection, and it's Ludeman's hope that Postgreen's new development here can build more commercial momentum around the junction.
This will be Postgreen's first venture into mixed-use territory, as it appears this project will break ground before its FRANK development, just up the street in the 2400 block of Frankford Avenue. That project also includes street-level commercial space.
This project-in-development is the second Postgreen project for Orange Design, a Philadelphia architectural studio founded in 2012 by Dutch-born and -trained architect Jetta van Bellen. Orange Design's very first project was "Pop!," the cork-faced Postgreen development in Fishtown that had its formal ribbon-cutting this month.
"We're hoping that what happened on Trenton Avenue itself, where they took a nice, wide, historic corridor that could have been mixed-use and turned it all residential, doesn't happen at that intersection," he said. This project is Postgreen's first move in the effort to keep that from happening.