South Kensington

Who will be the tenant?

Last fall, we told you about ongoing renovation efforts at 221 W. Girard Ave., a tired mixed-use building. This week, a reader checked in with a photo of the building's new facade. It features a bay window that we kinda dig.

In the past
Recent shot

The Girard Avenue corridor has experienced a rebirth of sorts in recent years. We wonder, with the new facade and a total renovation inside, when will the building's owners be able to find a commercial tenant?

This one will be affordable

Last week, a reader spotted a zoning notice posted on a fence on the south side of Oxford Street, between Bodine and Cadwallader Streets. Since we hadn't heard about a project here, and because it's just what we do, we figured we'd do some investigating.

Zoning notice

The zoning notice describes the consolidation of a couple dozen lots, the demolition of any existing structures, and the construction of new multifamily buildings. The project will eventually include 42 apartments, 37 parking spots, and 28 bike parking spots. But who is building this thing? Public record wasn't so helpful, as the collection of lots are seemingly owned by various parties. So any sale to a developer has not yet shown up. A few parcels are owned by City agencies, which inspired us to look at old Redevelopment Authority meeting minutes. The meeting in May of 2012 yielded the answers we sought.

Property is changing hands soon

Last fall, we told you about two new homes under construction on Palethorp Street, just north of Girard. Palethorp, in case you're unfamiliar, is a tiny north-south street just east of 2nd Street, which is lined with homes as you make your way up through South Kensington. At its beginning on Girard, there's a double-wide mixed-use property that was most recently home to a place called the Lodge 215. At some point in the last couple of years the clothing and furniture store closed its doors at 177 W. Girard Ave., and now a corner commercial space on Girard Avenue sits waiting for the next sucker entrepreneur.

Space on the corner
New home up the street

The property has been on the market for over a year, and was originally listed at a price of half a million dollars. That seems high to us and apparently seemed high to everybody else because it's listed as under contract at a list price of $360K. The property has the double-wide commercial space which you can clearly see in the photo, and it also has two bilevel apartments above. One unit is liveable, the other is seemingly unfinished.

Next to planned Liberty Square development

Several months ago, we told you about the ongoing renovation of a mixed-use building on the 200 block of W. Girard Ave., located around the corner from the Piazza and even closer to the neighborhood's still-newish supermarket. That project is still progressing, and should soon be approaching the finish line.

Looking east on Girard toward the El. Scaffolding is still up but they're getting there.

While it's nice to provide an update on a project we previously covered, today we're far more interested in the long-vacant lot just a few doors to the west. 225-29 W. Girard Ave. has been vacant for as long as we can remember. A reader tipped us off that it was listed for sale earlier this month for $400K which we confess seems like a pretty high price considering the property's location and odd shape. Still, if someone were to purchase this lot it would represent an interesting development opportunity.

But new businesses won't follow

Lately we've been abuzz with talk about redevelopment opportunities in Kensington around 6th & Thompson. Potential is certainly good to talk about, but what we really like to see is construction actually taking place. Such is the case with the renovations of a couple of bruised and vacant properties just north of 5th & Girard.

In the past

For years, the strip of buildings at 1210-14 N. 5th St. has sat apparently vacant and surrounded by empty lots. They had a ghost town kind of charm to them, in a way. Thing is, this ain't a ghost town. Disinvestment had become the main tenant, and all of the properties featured first floor space that seemingly once contained stores. When we passed by recently though, renovations had been made to the two southern properties, with new windows installed and tidied brickwork. According to public record, 1208-12 N. 5th St. sold last April for $365K to 1208-12 N 5th St. LLC.