A couple of weeks ago, we looked at an interesting triangle located just north of Lancaster Ave. where we described an old corner bar, an exterminator supply shop, and some opportunities for redevelopment. At that time, we casually mentioned a new project in the works nearby, and today we figured we'd try to fill in the blanks a little bit. If you're at all familiar with the area, you've probably noticed an old two-story warehouse building at 3862-68 Lancaster Ave. with some really nice murals. And if you've passed by this address in recent months, you've probably noticed the building has disappeared.
Eight or more condos along with ground-floor retail may soon fill another vacancy on the busy N. 2nd Street commercial corridor in Northern Liberties. Half a block south of the Piazza at 950-54 N. 2nd St., this project would replace an ugly garage and a strip of vacant land next door.
In 2005, the property was purchased by developers who got approvals for a five-story building with underground parking. But that plan never got off the ground. The property went back on the market this summer at an asking price of $750K and is currently under agreement. Since the previous variances have apparently lapsed, the new owners are looking to go in a different direction with the property. Last month, they appeared before the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association with plans to tear down the garage and construct a new 10-unit building with ground-floor commercial and three parking spots. But those plans will have to be tweaked before the NLNA will offer its support.
The changes demanded by the community include lowering the count from ten to perhaps eight larger units, and doing away with the three parking spots altogether due to their front ground-level entrance, “which robbed,” said Larry Freedman, NLNA zoning chair, “we felt, half of the commercial potential.”
A reader reached out the other day, wondering whether we had any news about 712-14 South St., most recently home to the Bottom of the Sea restaurant. The restaurant closed about a year ago, and was apparently headed to sheriff's sale as well. If you pass by today, you'll see that there's brown paper up in the windows. What's going on behind them is anybody's guess.
Perhaps you aren't aware of the recent history of this building. Until about a decade ago, the sign on the front was for Senor Rattlers Cantina, but that business closed some time after this 1989 Daily News review. Despite the remaining sign, the building was for years home to Club Kama Sutra, a private swingers club. We had friends who lived across the street back then and we can say with great confidence that it was no secret to the neighbors what was going on in that building.
So you can imagine how happy we were yesterday when the ZBA approved plans at this address for a new sign and a small addition that would allow for additional seating in the restaurant. With these approvals, we can only hope that the path is finally laid out for the new business to open its doors in the near future. Considering how long we’ve all been waiting for this place, we can only hope it matches the quality vibe and excellent food at Simons’ other locations. According to Michael Klein, he’s still seeking a chef- so if you’re experienced in the ramen business, now might be a good time to drop off a resume.
A couple of weeks ago, we checked in on 2300 South Street, letting you know that a continuation of the marathon ZBA hearing for this project would be taking place yesterday. In case you're new to the conversation, this project proposes the demolition of the current buildings on the southwest corner of 23rd & South and the construction of a new mixed-use building on the corner. This building would be 46' tall over four stories, and would include eighteen apartments and some sizeable first floor commercial space. The developer is Jason Nusbaum, who owns a bunch of rentals in town along with a couple of supermarkets. The developer is looking for variances for the height of the building, which is eight feet taller than is permitted by the zoning code, along with the number of units. He's proposing five more than are allowed by right.