HomeNewsWill new ‘NY-Style’ lofts connect Fishtown and Northern Liberties?

Will new ‘NY-Style’ lofts connect Fishtown and Northern Liberties?

An artist’s rendering of the 178. W. Huntingdon St. apartment complex. COURTESY OF SHOVEL READY, LLC

The project manager of an in-construction apartment complex — once advertised as being in Fishtown, but really in Kensington — says that the living space will be a highlight of what will be called the “American Street Arts Corridor.”

A recent Craigslist ad advertising “high-end living” and “NY-style lofts” attracted plenty of attention from blogs for listing a Kensington address as Fishtown.

The original ad is now down, but proclaimed, “Philadelphia Fishtown / Northern Liberties community has spoken and we are bringing to the community exactly what you have asked for!”

Photos of industrial-style apartments with exposed sheetrock walls and pipes were included on listings for 750-square-foot, one-bedroom apartments available at $750 a month.

The address, 178 W. Huntingdon St., between Mutter and Hancock streets, is an area known as the “Badlands,” where criminal activity is visible to pedestrians and police patrols are frequent.

The address is not far outside the borders of the East Kensington Neighbors Association’s boundaries, but is not in Fishtown or Northern Liberties, to be sure.

But despite the area’s reputation, the level of community interest in the initial Craigslist ad was almost overwhelming, said designer and project manager Russell Mahoney, who is working on the project for Shovel Ready LLC, which owns the site.

“We just wanted to see how people would respond,” Mahoney said of the Craigslist ad.

Mahoney also said that while the Craigslist ad called the building’s neighborhood “Fishtown,” it technically is West Kensington. He said, though, the apartments will be part of a newly-designated region.

“We’re gonna start calling it ‘the American Street Arts Corridor,’ which connects Fishtown and Northern Liberties,” Mahoney said.

Real estate listings have been known to advertise addresses outside of Fishtown or Northern Liberties as belonging to those neighborhoods — a 2012 article by Christopher Moraff for The Philly Post states, “Sadly there appears to be little preventing creative realtors from fudging the boundaries for marketing purposes. Since we’ve lived in the neighborhood I’ve seen houses as far north as Huntingdon Street — a clear eight blocks past York Street — listed as being in Fishtown.”

Moraff’s own home is in Kensington, but was listed as being in Fishtown.

Either way, Mahoney said the people interested in living at 178 W. Huntingdon are “creative types all the way to corporations.”

North American Street runs from Kensington down into Northern Liberties, and is the address of the Crane Arts Center at North American and Master streets, which rents space to about 40 artists and arts groups.

No matter the address, the 40,000-square-foot former ribbon factory has already attracted over 40 serious inquiries, even though it will only have about 25 residential units, Mahoney said. The project is scheduled to be finished around November 2013.

“We couldn’t keep up with the emails, they were just pouring in,” Mahoney said.

Last week, Mahoney was on-site with a team cleaning out debris from the former factory. He said the project has gotten a lot of verbal support from neighbors, community members and local business owners.

“People are responding extremely well to doing something on Huntingdon besides Temple [University Hospital],” Mahoney said.

Etheline Gilchrist, a resident of the area, said she thinks project will be good for the neighborhood.

“It’s coming back up,” she said.

Mahoney said that advertising “NY-style” lofts is a stylistic choice, rather than a way to make the apartments sound more attractive.

“It’s not a New York thing at all. The people involved with this are very proud of Philadelphia,” he said. “We’re Philly, through and through.”

Mahoney said that people on the waiting list for apartments at 178 W. Huntingdon St. will still get the $750 monthly rent rate mentioned in the original ad, whenever the project is finished.

For questions about renting space at 178 W. Huntingdon St., email magella.re@gmail.com.

Reporter Sam Newhouse can be reached at 215–354–3124 or at snewhouse@bsmphilly.com.

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