After a long, and occasionally unclear, history, the site at the corner of Elfreth’s Alley and Second Street has finally been reborn.
A ribbon cutting is being held Thursday afternoon for a new six-story development, dubbed The National, which is officially opening its doors at the property in the heart of Old City. The site was once home to the historically designated National Products Building.
The new space brings 192 apartments; 4,000 square feet of retail space; a two-level underground parking garage with space for 60 cars; and amenities for residents. Those include a roof deck, pet spa, and two-story clubhouse. The apartments themselves range from studios to two-bed places, and they’ll feature kitchens with quartz countertops, washer and dryer in unit, and full length windows with views of Old City and the Ben Franklin Bridge.
The northwest corner of the site—which once held a parking lot—has been turned into a public park for residents and visitors to the area.
It’s all the product of a two-year construction project, headed up by developers, The Buccini/Pollin Group, along with The Harman Group and architects BartonPartners, who aimed to bring a new development that would pay homage to its historic predecessor.
The original structure—the National Products Building—was a restaurant supply store, built at the site in 1929 and officially closed in the mid-1990s. It was designated historic in 2002, largely thanks to its iconic, modern orange tile facade, which was both beloved and reviled. Despite that designation, the building fell into such a state of disarray in recent years, that the Historical Commission approved plans for its demolition.
When the Buccini/Pollin Group took over in 2017, they aimed to bring back the orange facade in a terra cotta exterior. They also brought in the same style of stainless steel in a sign for the building.
Check out photos of the new space below: