It's been years in the wilderness for the former St. Casimir school at 333 Earp St., a building that's been sitting vacant for quite some time. We last checked in on this property about a year ago, when were telling you about plans to convert a former convent/rectory on Wharton Street into four apartments. That project went off without a hitch as far as we know, but the story about the former school is much more complicated.
An old rendering of the project
In 2011, Cosimo Tricarico, owner of Caffe Valentino, came forward with a plan to build a two-story addition on the building and create twenty-five apartments with four parking spots. But the neighbors were not enthralled by the project to say the least, objecting to the height, the number of units, and the small number of parking spots. Over the three years that followed, the project was revised and finally approved with a one-story addition, nineteen units, and six parking spots. Last year, the project was listed for sale, with approvals, for $1.3M. It ended up selling at a more modest $800K in May, and now the new owners ave finally begun moving forward with construction.
A single vacant, blighted building can bring down the rest of the block. And when such a building stretches over an entire city block, it's lousy for the whole neighborhood. Such has been the case with the former Mount Sinai hospital at 4th & Reed, closed since 1997. Since the hospital closed, only a small section at 5th & Reed has come back into use as senior housing while the rest has simply sat, looking crappier by the day.
But after the first two homes were framed out, the project stopped dead in its tracks. As we told you before, the new homes were about two-feet taller than was permitted by the permits and L&I shut down the site. The developers ultimately raised the homes off their foundations, lopped off the overbuild, and dropping the shorter homes back onto the foundations and were allowed to resume construction. That was in the spring of 2014. Checking back in today, we see that the first two homes seem finished and the next four are now under construction.
It seems that several developers are wagering that there are no shortage of people who are enthused about the idea. We've already covered several projects in this general vicinity, and we recently spotted a couple more. Nothing too crazy, but in the context of the other stuff happening nearby it's still worth noting.
SW corner of 4th & Tasker in the past
Renovation into a triplex one off the southwest corner
1602 S. 4th St. blends in beautifully with its neighbors, having been designed by the same architect, probably a hundred years ago. But this particular property has sat vacant for the last several years and went on the market in shell condition last fall. Developers snatched it up in just a few days for $160K and are now in the process of converting it into a triplex. Work is still ongoing, but we'd imagine neighbors are pleased that this blight is being taken off the block.
For quite some time, Campenella Construction made their home at 1601 S. Columbus Blvd., and in more recent years their property was available for sale. For the last couple of years however, this site has been ground zero for a war of sorts between AAA, Pennsport Civic Association, the Planning Commission, L&I, and the Central Delaware Advocacy Group.