Just Listed: Green Rowhouse in Fishtown

This LEED Platinum-certified modern townhouse comes from one of the city's best green design-build firms. It also comes with a tenant who can both help pay your mortgage and make desserts for you.

house for sale fishtown onion flats jackhammer exterior

636 Belgrade St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19125 | Photos: Dan Robnett, PLUSH Images, via Keller WIlliams Realty

Since 1997, Onion Flats has been pushing the envelope for both high-performance building construction and high-style design in Philadelphia. Its residential, mixed-use and institutional projects set the standard for both visual appeal and sustainability in everything from affordable housing to large apartment buildings to theaters. And the company does everything in-house, with a team of award-winning architects, developers and builders under one roof.

What you see above is one of Onion Flats’ singular single-family mixed-use projects. “Jackhammer,” a LEED Platinum-certified residence with first-floor retail, rose on this Fishtown corner lot in 2009. Here’s what Onion Flats has to say about it:

“Formerly a convenience store and significant loitering/drug-dealing corner property, neighbors were pleased when it caught on fire and was demolished in 2005. We felt it was important to restore the life and sense of community to this small but unique corner of Fishtown. From only a fourteen-foot width and barely a 700-square foot footprint, we managed to create a vibrant, light-filled commercial space on the ground floor and basement as well as one residential dwelling on the 2nd and 3rd floors with a large green roof.”

Here’s what I have to say about it: Wow. It’s a knockout.

A true original from top to bottom, inside and out, this house delights the eye with its interplay of materials and forms on the exterior and its bright, sunny, minimalist-yet-visually-interesting interior spaces.

house for sale fishtown onion flats jackhammer entrance patio

Entrance patio

You enter the house via a staircase at the building’s rear. At the top of the staircase is a small patio big enough to hold seating and a barbecue grill.

house for sale fishtown onion flats jackhammer main floor

Main floor

house for sale fishtown onion flats jackhammer living room

Living room

house for sale fishtown onion flats jackhammer dining room

Dining room

Once past the entrance hallway, you enter a totally open space combining living, dining and cooking functions, with room for a study desk beneath the distinctive floating staircase.

house for sale fishtown onion flats jackhammer kitchen


The galley kitchen has a sleek European feel.

house for sale fishtown onion flats jackhammer master bedroom

Master bedroom

Upstairs you will find two bedrooms and a hall bath. The master bedroom has plenty of closet space, built-in storage bins and bookshelves, and an en suite bathroom.

house for sale fishtown onion flats jackhammer master bathroom vanity

Master bathroom vanity

house for sale fishtown onion flats jackhammer master bathroom shower

Master bathroom shower

As with everything else in this house, the fittings and fixtures in that bathroom are sleek and unique (you did notice the ceiling fans in the living room and master bedroom, didn’t you?).

house for sale fishtown onion flats jackhammer roof deck

Roof deck

An open stairwell leads from the bedroom floor to the roof deck.

These are the features that make this house worth spending your money on. But there are others that will save you money in the near term and the long run.

One is its super-energy-efficient construction: It’s Energy Star- as well as LEED Platinum-certified, and the solar panels on its roof will keep your electric bills super low.

Another is its first-floor tenant. This house for sale consists of two condominium units, the residence and the retail unit on the ground floor and in the basement, and both units are being offered as a single package in this sale. The retail tenant is Whipped Bakeshop, which won a Best of Philly for Best Cupcakes in 2010. Whipped makes not only delicious cupcakes but custom cakes and cookies as well. This means that you can indulge your sweet tooth with a simple trip downstairs while helping founder-owner Zoë Lukas pay some of your mortgage for you.

And when you feel like indulging your other tastes, you’re also sitting pretty, for some of the city’s best restaurants and bars are a short walk away on Frankford and Girard avenues. Not to mention unique boutique shopping and convenient mass transit.

Sound like a winner to you? It does to me.



BATHS: 2 full, 1 half


SALE PRICE: $725,000

OTHER STUFF: The sale price includes Unit B, the commercial space on the ground floor and basement.

636 Belgrade St., Unit A, Philadelphia, Pa. 19125 [Sam Akif | Advance Philly | Keller Williams Realty]