South Kensington

Or will it continue to sit vacant and blighted?

South Kensington has experienced tremendous growth in the last few years, with small and large projects alike filling up vacant lots and replacing blighted buildings. Despite all this positive change, there's still a huge blighted building looming over the neighborhood, like Lurch on the Addams Family. The building at 5th & Master was once an umbrella factory, but it's been sitting vacant for decades. We last visited the property about a year and a half ago, hoping that renovation was imminent, but it looks pretty much the same now as it did back then.

The former umbrella factory
View from the east

A refresher, there was a plan for a residential conversion here back in 2006, which would have meant 141 condo units and a parking garage next door. The project encountered considerable community opposition, but it was ultimately mothballed because of the recession in 2008.

Apartments plus commercial are in store

Last month, we made another trip to the 1400 block of Germantown Avenue and told you about ongoing demolition at 1400 Germantown Ave., a long vacant building that some commenters felt might have some historic relevance. Whether that's the case or not, the property is now gone and a vacant lot sits in its place, awaiting development. Expect new construction here sooner rather than later, but we still don't know exactly what's coming.

Building was demoed on the northwest corner

We also mentioned that developers had purchased 1401 Germantown Ave., a huge blighted building that was originally, we think, used for the production of store fixtures, for $1.35M. We wondered whether they would demolish the building and construct homes in its place, but hoped that they would instead reuse the building in some fashion. From the outside, the property seems to be in poor condition, though it has wonderful bones.

Combines two tiny lots

Last week, we revisited the K'House project which was originally slated for the 1700 block of N. Howard Street but was delayed and eventually moved to Hope Street after the project was shot down by the ZBA. When we snapped those photos, we spied another seemingly new project in the distance, on the other side of Palmer Street. Previously, 1760 Hope St. was a vacant lot.

In the past

Now there's a duplex there. Ordinarily we wouldn't rush to tell you about a random new duplex but it's got a really unique look so we figured we'd share.

Affordable housing springs up in South Kensington

We've covered several significant residential proposals in South Kensington over the last few years but we're still waiting for most of them to materialize. So it's no small thing that the Tajdeed Residences project which we first told you about in March of 2014 is approaching the finish line. By the time we got around to covering it, the project had already been in the works for a couple of years and was about to go before the ZBA. Remember, several of the properties making up this large project were acquired via eminent domain, which resulted in resistance to the project from some near neighbors. Despite this, the project is now approaching completion.

Demolition, plus a new owned for a huge property

This is our third time reporting on the 1400 block of Germantown Avenue this year, and we're not ruling out making another visit before Old Lang Syne rings out across the world. In January, two homes were under construction, some old buildings were getting demolished, and a bunch of foundations were apparent on the northern side of the block. When we checked back over the summer, the two homes had moved along, the demolition was finished, and there were homes atop the aforementioned foundations. When we went to this block last week, there was more change in the air.

Demolition at the corner of Germantown & Master

When we were here last, we shared the good news that 1400 Germantown Ave., the rough looking yellow building at the corner, had recently changed hands. But we didn't know what was happening next. It turns out, we still don't know what's happening with this property. But we can tell you that the building is in the process of getting demolished. The property could accommodate two homes, though the developers will have to go to the ZBA to get around the commercial zoning. Note, the two homes to the north are still under construction.