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South Kensington project with 155 condos wins key approval

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Ignore the freight trains

KJO Architecture

The Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment voted February 21 to approve the construction of 155 condos at the corner of Lehigh and Frankford avenues in South Kensington.

The project would fill a vacant four-acre lot with homes that could run to $369,000, per Plan Philly’s Jake Blumgart.

The plan from developer RiverWards Group is not without its detractors, not least the City Planning Commission as well as neighborhood groups who see the development as out of sync with the surrounding area and with recently passed zoning regulations.

Those rules do not allow for residential construction in that slice of South Kensington.

And there are other issues, per Blumgart: “The developer’s representatives told the Planning Commission that its soil is contaminated and 1.4 million cubic feet of chemical-laced dirt will have to be removed to allow for construction. The freight trains that travel by the site carrying chemicals and sometimes crude oil to the Tioga Marine Terminal will continue to raise questions ...”

Nevertheless, RiverWards, confident in the area’s sales potential, is moving forward with the project. Stay tuned.