Graduate Hospital

Three homes, not six apartments, are on the way

If you use the Google Maps Time Machine function to turn back the clock to 2007 and visit the 2200 block of League Street, you'll find a block that was in pretty rough shape. At that time, a smattering of blighted homes and vacant lots were bringing down the block. The passing years have been kind though, with old homes getting renovated and new homes getting built as the neighborhood has continued to attract new residents. Today, the north side of the block is a mishmash of older two story homes and newer three story homes. The south side is the same as before, a mostly blank wall that's the back of a Washington Avenue warehouse.

Homes on the north side of the 2200 block of League Street
South side, the back of a Washington Avenue warehouse

Despite the progress on the block, 2211-15 League St. have continued to sit vacant. Developers bought the three lots along with a shell at 2209 League St. back in 2014, paying $655K for the four properties. They've built a new home at 2209 League St. and came before the SOSNA zoning committee a few months back for a six-unit plan for the three vacant lots. The neighbors weren't into the concept, and we were inspired to visit the site in advance of their ZBA hearing next week. What we discovered surprised us.

Looks a little funny

If you've passed by 21st & Webster at any point in the last few weeks, you've probably noticed a new home under construction. Had you visited this corner just a few months ago though, you wouldn't have considered this possibility since every other property on the 2100 block of Catharine goes street to street. Somewhere along the line, the back section of 2100 Catharine St. was lopped off, creating an independent 19' x 18' parcel that still looked like a backyard for the adjacent Mount Sinai Holy Church.

In the past

We attended a SOSNA zoning meeting last summer where developers presented the plans for this little property. Despite some objections from near neighbors, the developers got approval from the ZBA and now they're well on their way to building a home here. To refresh your memory, the home will have a kitchen in the basement, living and dining rooms on the first floor, and a bedroom on each of the upper two floors. Clearly, the challenging dimensions are necessitating the unique layout here. Looking at the current state of affairs, the new home certainly sticks out a bit.

Seems like a lousy idea, actually

922 S. 19th St. is a mixed-use property at the northwest corner of 19th & Carpenter which has been listed for sale for much of the last year, most recently at a price of $675K. The first floor of the property has been a barber shop for years, though we would guess that it's had several different retail uses over the years. Upstairs, there are three efficiency apartments that are in decent shape, and there's a one-story garage at the rear of the property. Despite these features, we'd contend that the list price is still a bit too high. So we were surprised to learn that the property went under agreement a couple months ago.

NW corner of 19th & Carpenter

The potential buyers intend to keep the apartment units intact and to convert the former barber shop into a dog daycare facility with grooming services and overnight boarding. They made a presentation last month to the SOSNA zoning committee, and the near neighbors had a number of issues with the plan, including questions about noise, traffic, open space for the dogs, and where the animals would do their business. The most notable thing to come out of the meeting was that the business would be permitted to board up to 90 (!) dogs at one time. As you probably would have guessed, they'll be coming back to the community to try again, likely in June.

Well, mixed news, at worst

The southwest corner of 17th & Christian has been a mess for as long as we can remember. It was over four years ago that we first brought this property to your attention, lamenting its persistently blighted condition and enormous tax delinquency. We urged the owners of the property to sell it off, believing that a decade of poor stewardship indicated that they would never fix up the property. Instead, they installed plexiglass into the window openings to attempt to comply with the City's now-defunct Doors and Windows ordinance.

In the past, before the plexiglass

Over the last few months, we've noticed some construction work taking place at the property. Recently, we spotted new framing for a future fourth floor, giving the best indication to date that the property was coming back online. We assumed, given the history, that new owners had paid a pretty penny for the property and were now pushing to make their investment worthwhile. But... that isn't the case.

Across the street from Sidecar

Things sure have changed in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood in the last decade. Back then, vacant homes still dotted the streets and some large parcels remained, ripe for redevelopment. There were a few more churches, too. Today, but a handful of vacant lots remain and we can't think of too many large parcels left in the neighborhood. As such, a lot of the development we're seeing here these days involves renovation of existing buildings or the complete demolition of existing buildings and the construction of something all new in their place. Such is the case for two adjacent properties on the 2200 block of Christian Street.

The view in the past
Current view

Developers acquired 2204 and 2206 Christian St. last year, paying $340K (yikes!) for the former and a much more appropriate $230K for the latter. The old homes are now getting torn down, and new buildings will rise in their place. The permits aren't clear about exactly what we can expect here, but given the purchase price and the multi-family zoning for the properties, we'd wager on condos. Perhaps we'll see duplexes, or maybe even triplexes. And with Sidecar trucking along across the street, this would seem like an ideal location for anyone looking to move to the neighborhood.

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