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The National site in Old City will finally break ground this week

192 apartments are coming to Old City

The National site will begin construction this week on its mixed-use, six-story building.
Rendering by Barton Partners

After decades of dashed hopes and proposals come and gone, work has finally begun on a mixed-use development project at the site of the former National building in Old City.

New owners, Buccini/Pollin Group of Wilmington, Delaware, announced that on Friday, June 10, they will officially break ground on their six-story building, which will bring 192 apartments and 2,000 square feet of retail to 130 N. 2nd Street.

No doubt it will be a site for sore eyes in the neighborhood when it finishes construction in summer 2018. Old City has spent years waiting for the redevelopment of this site, which sits at the end of Elfreth’s Alley, one of the most highly foot-trafficked areas in the neighborhood.

Formerly home to the National Products Building company, numerous proposals and owners have come and gone, until the building was eventually demolished in 2015. Since then, the site has remained an empty pit.

The site of the future National mixed-use building, taken in August 2016.
Photo by Melissa Romero

Buccini/Pollin Group bought the property in 2016. It will be the developer’s first apartment project in Philly. Vice president Boris Kaplan acknowledged the site’s ongoing development saga in a statement:

“This development has been in the works for decades and we are eager to see The National join the incredible array of residential and recreational amenities in Old City,” he said. “We are treating this project with great care in recognition of the historic fabric of the surrounding community.”

Architect Barton Partners have designed a project that incorporates the National’s iconic orange tile and stainless steel signage into the facade facing 2nd Street. And like most new apartment buildings popping up around Philly, this development will be amenity-driven, with a fitness center, pet spa, 60-car garage, two-story clubhouse, and a roof deck.

As the rendering suggests, there will also be a public plaza at the foot of the new building, serving as a much more welcome entrance to Elfreth’s Alley.