Over the summer, we visited the Mount Sinai Hospital site at 4th & Reed and speculated that development was finally on the way after years of vacancy and several proposals that never came to pass. In contrast to earlier plans from other developers, the Concordia Group was looking to demolish the empty hospital and replace it with 95 new homes, all with parking. With two visits to CDR and multiple community meetings, we were optimistic that the project was happening but a little wary, considering the history of the site. For a better idea of the plan, here's a site plan and a rendering of the project from architects Barton Partners.
Project site plan
Rendering at 4th & Reed
We still can't promise that the homes are getting built, but we're extremely confident that the existing building is getting demolished. This confidence stems from the fact that we've seen it with our own eyes. Here, check out these images:
The property was actually listed for sale before the fire and somewhat oddly, each of the eleven units in the building were separately deeded. With the old building long gone and a 3,000+ sqft lot crying out for redevelopment, developers now will look to redevelop the property but with far fewer units. Plans call for four new homes on this parcel and we'd guess that two of the homes will front Moyamensing Avenue and the other two will front 4th Street. Each home will have a garage, but we're unclear on whether the parking will be accessed from the front or the rear.
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.