There’s a huge new neighborhood rising on the waterfront below Graffiti Pier

Phase one of Northbank has townhomes priced at $500k and up. Over 100 households have already moved in.

Northbank will eventually have 700 to 800 homes, developers say, plus retail

Northbank will eventually have 700 to 800 homes, developers say, plus retail

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn
lizzymclellanravitch-headshot

Houses are popping up fast at the massive Northbank development on the Delaware River waterfront east of Fishtown, just below Graffiti Pier. Well over 100 buyers have already moved in.

Even before Concordia Group and D3 Development begin a planned second construction phase, the community will have more than 350 homes. It’s basically a whole new neighborhood, with a street grid built atop previously undeveloped land. There’s very little feel of the gritty city, and the riverfront is extra-tranquil thanks to Petty Island, which blocks the view of New Jersey.


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It’s not cheap. Home prices at Northbank have increased since 2020, when developers said they would start in the mid-$400,000s. Now, the homes range in price from the $500,000s to $1.2 million or more.

Northbank originally called itself the second-largest housing development in Philly history, with 900 units planned. (The biggest is the Park Towne Place apartments, built in the 1950s south of Eakins Oval.) Now, it’s more likely to have a total of 700-800 residential units, said Natasha Stancill, a VP at Urban Pace, which is selling the Northbank homes.

There’s demand for residential units right now, as people from other areas continue to flock to Philadelphia, and hundreds of new apartments are expected to be built in the next few years. On South Broad in Center City, plans for a 43-story building of 400+ apartments are nearing final approval. In West Philly, four projects in the works are expected to make for over 800 new multifamily units.

A public riverfront trail runs alongside the Northbank development

A public riverfront trail runs alongside the Northbank development

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Apartments are eventually coming to Northbank, per Stancill, but plans for one or two mixed-use buildings are now on hold until developers get to a portion of the site they say is more retail-friendly. The details of what those leased units will look like are up in the air.

Still, the development is massive, and it’s transforming quickly. Urban Pace has sold 230 of the planned 350 townhomes, and 130 of those have gone to settlement.

The base model is an 1,881-square-foot model with three bedrooms, 2.5 to 3.5 bathrooms, and a one-car garage. The highest-end homes for sale in the neighborhood have five bedrooms, 2-car garages and 3,800 square feet of living space. Homebuyers can opt for upgrades like private elevators, or a wet bar on the top floor leading out to a rooftop deck.

Townhomes at Northbank range from 3 to 5 bedrooms

Townhomes at Northbank range from 3 to 5 bedrooms

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

The price increases over the past two years are a reflection of the market and demand, Stancill said.

The median sale price of a home in Philadelphia has increased by more than 20% from September 2020 to June 2022, according to Redfin housing market reports. Philly has a lack of affordable housing, with a waiting list for subsidized homes more than 40,000 families long. Meanwhile, homebuilders across the U.S. are struggling with supply chain issues that, combined with other factors, have caused a severe home shortage.

At Northbank, supply chain issues have slightly lengthened the time it takes to complete the townhomes, Stancill said, but haven’t affected the starting time for any of the builds.

Recently, the development team has been promoting a program meant to ease some of the burden of rising mortgage interest rates — which have caused demand for home loans to plummet. Northbank homebuyers can opt to pay for a lower interest rate, and they can get $15k in closing cost assistance. The community was also one of the last new developments to get in on a full 10-year tax abatement.

Homeowners at Northbank were some of the last to be able to opt into a full 10-year tax abatement

Homeowners at Northbank were some of the last to be able to opt into a full 10-year tax abatement

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Northbank’s website touts its proximity to Fishtown’s many destinations, though it’s separated from the bulk of the neighborhood by I-95 and the busy on and off ramps that empty onto Delaware Avenue.

There are plans to improve pedestrian access — the beginnings of park and paths weaving below the highway overpass are already laid out — but right now getting from Northbank to Fishtown is only easy if you’re in a car.

A pedestrian path is under construction below I-95 next to Delaware Avenue

A pedestrian path is under construction below I-95 next to Delaware Avenue

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Some amenities also separate the new community from the adjacent neighborhoods. Northbanks’s homeowners association and monthly $165 HOA fee pay for private trash removal, landscaping maintenance, snow removal, and a private security service.

The whole riverfront in that area of Philadelphia is in the midst of transformation. Graffiti Pier, just to the north of Northbank, is also under renovation. The former haven for street artists and photographers is being turned into a public park, with a target completion date of 2024, though that doesn’t seem to be set in stone, per the project’s website.

The entrance to Graffiti Pier is just north of Northbank

The entrance to Graffiti Pier is just north of Northbank

Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital

A bit south of Northbank, more new housing is in the works — this time an adaptive reuse project in the former Delaware Generating Station, which is being turned into 300+ apartments and 200k square feet of office space.

Phase two of Northbank will bring apartments, complete the waterfront trail, and open up retail businesses, according to Stancill, the Urban Pace VP. Phase three, which is slated to see more townhomes built, is currently scheduled to be finished by 2025.

Scroll down for some more pics of the new high-end neighborhood.

The sales offices for Northbank declare it 'The waterfront neighborhood Philadelphia has been waiting for'

The sales offices for Northbank declare it 'The waterfront neighborhood Philly has been waiting for'

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn
Access to the river is easy from any of the townhomes

Access to the river is easy from any of the townhomes

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn
northbankhouses-development-waterfront-02

Lawn maintenance is provided by the homeowners association

Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital

 

Mailboxesin the Northbank development are set up at the end of several of the streets

Mailboxesin the Northbank development are set up at the end of several of the streets

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn
Private trash pickup is an amenity offered to Northbank residents

Private trash pickup is an amenity offered to Northbank residents

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn
Northbank has private security

Northbank has private security

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn
northbankhouses-development-waterfront-05

Additional construction is underway

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

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