Saffron: ‘Fishtown Is Having Its Williamsburg Moment’
Does the fancy hotel proposed on Frankford Avenue by Roland Kassis position artsy/hipster-y Fishtown squarely as Philadelphia’s version of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York? The Inquirer‘s Inga Saffron sure seems to think so and draws compelling parallels in her latest Changing Skyline piece between Kassis’s Fishtown resume with Domani Developers and the transformation in Williamsburg–particularly this new hotel plan and the introduction of Brookyln’s boutique Wythe Hotel in 2012. Hell, Kassis also brought in the Whythe’s architect, Morris Adjmi (who also designed the hip extended stay apartments at ROOST near 15th and Sansom), to further the vision of the new Frankford Avenue.
From Saffron’s piece:
Only a few years ago, any hotel in an old working-class neighborhood like Fishtown, never mind one of the high-end variety, would have been unimaginable, despite the convenience of a Market-Frankford El stop and an I-95 exit. But Fishtown is having its Williamsburg moment, and, as Kassis persuasively argued, travelers are increasingly seeking out distinctive lodgings in such undiscovered locations.
The project, which includes the 125-room hotel, co-working space, restaurant and jazz club, goes before the Zoning Board of Adjustment on April 1. Kassis plans to convert a lot at Front and Thompson into the parking lot for the hotel and requires a variance to do so. Overall Saffron love the plan, but laments the use for the lot on Front Street, calling it “the least appealing part of the project.”