New Condos in Northern Liberties

Rapid development near the waterfront.

933 N. Front St.

Well, sure. Development couldn’t hurt. Photo: Google Street View.

Variances have been granted, permits issued, and foundations poured for a new seven-unit townhome condo development at 933-37 N. Front St. in Northern Liberties, a stone’s throw from the Delaware riverfront.

But nothing’s gone up on those foundations yet, because the project architect, JKR Partners, sought to make a change to the design that required another round of zoning review.

In a previous review, the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association (NLNA) had given the go-ahead to a design that terraces the homes so the structures slope down towards the river, just as the lot they sit on does. The townhomes, which will rise to a height of 60 feet, will have garages on their street floors and three stories above. The homes will have rear decks on the second and third floors and roof decks accessed via pilot houses.

In form, though not in siting, they will resemble the Liberty Gates development immediately to its south.

The main concerns residents who came to the NLNA Zoning Committee meeting on Jan. 27 had with the revised design concerned noise and access from both ends of the lot. Attorney Hercules Grigos noted that the city would not grant a permit for a curb cut onto Canal Street, for there is not even a sidewalk on that side of the lot. Neighbors received reassurances that noise would be no worse after the homes went up than it had been before a fire destroyed the structure previously on this site.

Some of that concern was also related to the fact that, even though they are condos, the units will likely be rented to tenants. “All seven units have already been sold,” Zoning Committee chair Larry Freedman said. “They sell them, then they rent them.” Another neighbor noted, “They won’t be frat house boys.”

The committee voted unanimously to approve the modifications. We expect work to resume on this project once the Zoning Board of Adjustment approves them and the weather gets better.