Renovation and adaptive reuse

We try to visit Brewerytown every few weeks, just to see what's going on development-wise. But there's so many small streets in the neighborhood, sometimes we miss something. So when a reader tipped us off to multiple projects on the 1300 block of N. Marston St., we weren't too shocked that we hadn't noticed anything there before. And we quickly made our way to this block, to see what's going on.

Looking down the block

The block is dominated by a large building at 1327-33 N. Marston St. which was once a milk depot but has clearly sat vacant for many years. A development company aptly named Marston Street Milk Depot LLC purchased the building earlier this year at sheriff's sale for a little more than $100K and now they're doing work on the building to make it safe, per an engineer's report. Once that's done, they're apparently planning a residential conversion for the property which we imagine will involve a partial reuse and an addition. The property is bigger than it looks, measuring just over 8,000 sqft, and could accommodate 17 apartments by right.

Could start a good trend

Buzzing through Brewerytown yesterday, we spied a new zoning notice on a dilapidated building on the 2700 block of Stiles Street, a block that's got more than its share of vacancy.

Zoning notice on Stiles Street
The rest of the block

When we stopped to snap some photos and get a closer look, we realized that the address is actually 2712 W. Cabot St. even though the building frontage is on Stiles and it's just a vacant lot on Cabot Street. Cabot Street's in better shape than Stiles Street, but it also (sarcastically) boasts a number of vacant lots.

Surely the surrounding properties will someday get redeveloped

North Abbey, the renovation of the former St. Augustine's church at 27th & Girard into sixteen apartment units, wrapped up earlier this summer. We've talked up this project several times as construction progressed, exceptionally pleased to see a church converted and not demolished, for a change. The building has eight units on each floor, with rents ranging from $990/mo for 1 bed/1 bath units to $1,799/mo for 3 bed/2 bath units. Several of the units have some amazing original details, which you can see in the photos on the developer's Facebook page.

All are replacing vacant lots

One block in Brewerytown seems to be having all the fun. Last week, when we spied some unfortunate demolition at 29th & Thompson, we also happened upon a new foundation at the corner of 28th & Stiles. That parcel is actually the combination of two properties, 1225 and 1227 N. 28th St., both of which were acquired by developers last summer when they were vacant lots. The developers have combined the lots into one, perhaps because one of them was just a hair over 14' wide. Now, with a 29'+ wide parcel, they're building a four-unit building.

Corner of 28th & Stiles

You can see, there's another building under construction next door. At 1223 N. 28th St., developers (different than the guys building the quadplex next door) are building a three-unit building. It's a good few months ahead of its neighbor. When they're both done, it will be a dramatic improvement over the large overgrown lot that was here before.

But we don't think new construction is forthcoming

A reader tipped us off recently about some ongoing demolition at 1262 N. 29th St., at the southwest corner of 29th & Thompson. This handsome building was home to an active corner store until somewhat recently, so it was perhaps a little surprising to hear that it was coming down. Then again, with the ever-improving Girard Avenue corridor just a block to the south, it wasn't that much of a shock.

In the past
Current view

When you see this kind of demolition, you can't help but think that a developer has purchased the property and is planning some new project for the site. But looking at public record, the building hasn't changed hands since 1985. Great Scott, what's happening?