Buildings have been vacant for a long time

A little less than a month ago, we told you that the vacant former church at 1734 Ridge Ave. would soon be demolished, but we didn't know for sure what would rise in its place. A reader tipped us off, having attended a community meeting last week where Loonstyn Properties presented a plan for a 30 unit building, which got support from the neighbors in Francisville. Even though they didn't mention it, we have to imagine the project will also include some commercial component on the first floor.

According to the reader, CANNO Design did a really nice job on the architecture for the project, but we're sorry to say we weren't able to get our mitts on a rendering. In the meantime though, check out these photos of some ongoing demolition. It's a bit of a business in the front/party in the back situation right now, but it won't be long before the entire building is gone.

Even more former affordable housing is turning over

For those living in Francisville, it isn't news that the eastern side of the 700 block of 20th Street is a mess, architecturally speaking. A handful of hundred year old homes are still standing on this block and those homes are owned by PHA and go all the way up to the sidewalk like normal homes. The vast majority of the homes on the block, though, were built as small for-sale affordable housing units in the 1980s, sitting on huge parcels. With the parcels being so big, the homes are set back and have yards or parking out front. But these properties are zoned multi-family and therefore represent tremendous development opportunities. As such, there's also a smattering of newer buildings which have replaced some of those former affordable housing units, and those are generally condoed out. 


Homes on 20th Street

We've covered construction on this block intermittently over the years, first visiting in the summer of 2012 when developers were getting ready to build a quadplex next door to a vacant and blighted PHA building. Over time, we've seen some of the smaller homes get demolished and replaced, and that's continuing to this day. We see that developers are now tearing down 727 N. 20th St., with plans to build another multi-family building in its place. The image below shows that demolition effort along with some of the current architectural variety on the block.

We had seen a For Sale sign a few months ago

When we spied a 'For Sale By Owner' sign at the New Macedonia Church at 875 Corinthian Ave. this past spring, we called the number to arrange a tour to see what the property had to offer. Having redevelopment in mind, we considered the possibilities for the property, including reuse or demolition. The two story building seemed like it was in decent condition structurally, and it would have made for a fabulous apartment building with six or eight units. Alternately, the multifamily zoning would have allowed for a new construction building with up to fifteen units. Since the building isn't designated historic (as far as we know), this wouldn't have been an issue from a permitting perspective. Running the numbers though, we couldn't make either approach work with the sale price the church was seeking, so we didn't even make an offer.

The church

Just because the numbers didn't work for us doesn't mean the numbers didn't work for anyone, so it's no shock that developers bought the building in May for $775K. We don't see any permits on the property just yet, so we have no idea whether they're planning adaptive reuse or demolition and new construction. Given the market conditions though, we'd be inclined to guess that it'll be the latter, and that Francisville will lose another church. You may remember, the neighborhood lost a church at 19th & Poplar back in 2011.

More vacant land on the outs

15th Street in Francisville has seen all kinds of changes over the last few years, with numerous vacant lots turning over as developers have built new homes and apartment buildings. But there's still plenty of vacant land remaining, so opportunities remain for additional construction. About half a year ago, we told you about two projects on the boards at the north and south eastern corners of 15th & Parrish. If you visit this intersection today though, you'll see that neither project has gotten off the ground as of yet. Soon enough.

Planned project hasn't happened yet on the northeast corner

Ditto on the southeast corner

Just to the north of the intersection, we happened upon some zoning notices at 839-43 N. 15th St., some of the aforementioned remaining vacant lots in the neighborhood. Per the signs, developers are looking to build 3 duplexes here which we imagine will be sold off as condos. This is assuming, of course, that the ZBA gives their blessing.

Long vacant lot filling in, former church coming down

We've said numerous times over the last few years that Ridge Avenue is on the rise, and you can find two fine examples of this situation on the 1700 block. The most obvious change to the status quo is at 1731 Ridge Ave., where a new building is under construction on a property that has been vacant for many years. To our surprise, we see that the property was listed for sale a little less than a year ago for $110K and sold two weeks later for $100K. The developers that purchased the lot are now building a structure with two commercial spaces and two apartments which we'd bet will be sold off as condos. While it's nice to see the new construction here, we find our gaze is drawn to the building next door, which was surely much more handsome before most of the cornice fell off.

Construction on Ridge Avenue

Across the street, a much larger project is looming, as a vacant building at 1734 Ridge Ave., most recently home to a church, will soon be demolished. We actually mentioned this property about a month ago, as part of a story about some upcoming construction around the corner on Leland Street. As we told you then, Loonstyn Development has owned the building for several years and now it appears as though they're ready to move forward with a project. It's good timing, with some additional projects coming soon to some long vacant land a few doors down.