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Construction of condos, single-family homes underway in S. Kensington

For developers, all eyes appear to be on South Kensington these days. The latest arrivals, but certainly with some of the bigger plans, are the two Seans: Sean Frankel of Frankel Management Co. and Sean Schellenger of Streamline Solutions, who will be building 45 homes at Fifth and Thompson Streets, just a few steps from Girard Avenue.

Sean Schellenger (right) and Sean Frankel, whose project includes the construction of 45 homes near Girard Avenue.
Sean Schellenger (right) and Sean Frankel, whose project includes the construction of 45 homes near Girard Avenue.Read moreED NEWTON

For developers, all eyes appear to be on South Kensington these days.

The latest arrivals, but certainly with some of the bigger plans, are the two Seans: Sean Frankel of Frankel Management Co. and Sean Schellenger of Streamline Solutions, who will be building 45 homes at Fifth and Thompson Streets, just a few steps from Girard Avenue.

Those homes - a mix of single rowhouses with two- and three-unit condos mixed in - are fewer than half of what the friends and partners are planning to build in a Philadelphia neighborhood where the noise of construction is deafening.

Groundbreaking was April 8 for the project, which Frankel and Schellenger will be completing in two phases, said Ashley May, Streamline's director of development.

The site for the project was two pieces of long-vacant land, May said.

The first phase will feature 28 units along Fifth Street and will take about a year to build, she said.

The second phase will involve construction of single-family homes and condo units along North Orkney Street and will include yet-to-be determined commercial space, May said. During this phase, the developers also will build a dog park that will be open to the community.

Although pricing for the condos and singles has not yet been determined, there were five presales before a shovel even went into the ground.

"Prices will be in the mid-$300,000s," said May, adding that the homes under contract are being purchased by millennials.

Although some national studies contend that millennials are staying away from the for-sale housing market, May said the data she has seen show that, in Philadelphia, the number of buyers in this age group is greater than the U.S. average.

"This is really a hot market," she said, echoing other developers - many of whom are millennials themselves - who are attracted to the neighborhood.

"We are planning to build 100-plus homes in South Kensington in the next year and half," May said, emphasizing the developers' commitment to "partner" with longtime residents and community groups instead of barging in and dictating the future.

In South Kensington, this partnering is an effort to merge "new neighbors and old neighbors" and to work with owners of stores across from the Fifth and Thompson Streets project "who don't want us to forget about them," May said.

Frankel and Schellenger "wanted to create a community that blended with surroundings, but stood out with class and beauty," she said.

"This city deserves and demands development that advances and improves entire neighborhoods," Frankel said.

Frankel Management Co., or FMC, based in Jenkintown, was started in 2001 by Sean and his brother, Shane, who died in 2012.

From 2001 to 2003, the brothers purchased 20 homes. They sold them all in 2006–2007.

Frankel has been working with Schellenger "on and off on projects" since their first joint effort in 2008, May said.

Schellenger and Streamline Solutions, with offices at 2301 Washington Ave., began developing properties in Point Breeze, attracted by the opportunities in that neighborhood, May said.

Streamline also has developed a 12-unit condo building in Northern Liberties and is currently building 20 homes on the 2400 block of Manton Street called West Point Estates, May said.

It is working on approvals to build 28 additional homes on the 2500 block of Manton Street, she said.

"We see the value in building up areas," she said, but that's about more than just housing.

Efforts have included new offices for Helping Hands Philadelphia at 2352 Federal St., as well as building a computer lab for after-school programs and residents' use, as well.

"If you treat people gently and respectfully, they will welcome you," May said.

aheavens@phillynews.com

215-854-2472

@alheavens

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