South Kensington

We thought the building had been vacant but we were wrong

There's a building on the northeast corner of 3rd & Girard that we suspected was sitting vacant for many years.

In the past

Uh, our bad. It turns out the building at 1201 N. 3rd St. has been in use as a master carpentry shop, so says a listing for the property from 2015. When you consider the development that's been happening on either side of Girard Avenue, and the slow but steady improvements to this chunk of Girard Avenue as a commercial corridor, it seems the growing value of the building encouraged the owners to find a new location to make stuff out of wood. Developers bought the property a little over a year ago, and a sign from MSC Retail has been hanging on the side of the building for awhile now. The listing describes 1,300 sqft of space plus a basement and a wide sidewalk to accommodate outdoor seating, so a restaurant seemed like a possibility. We passed by last week, and a sign on the building suggests something definitively inedible.

Will it be renovated? Demolished? Declared historic?

Though we've visited South Kensington on countless occasions, we don't think we ever found ourselves on the 1200 block of N. Hancock Street. So when a reader reached out, mentioning that a church at 1217-23 N. Hancock St. had recently changed hands, we couldn't even picture the building. When we actually made our way to the property, we couldn't see it very well because of the foliage out front.

The church
Closer look, in the shadows

Thanks to an old Loopnet listing, we can show you what this place looks like when the trees are not in bloom.

Seems reasonable to us

When we told you about an upcoming eleven home development on the east side of the 1400 block of N. Howard St. a couple months ago, we expressed optimism that the large warehouse on the western side of the block would eventually get redeveloped. We didn't realize at the time that developers had, in fact, presented a plan for this property to South Kensington Community Partners back in 2013. Despite the fact that it seems nothing has happened at 1400 N. Howard St. in the time since then, a reader noticed that developers from Edgewise Realty posted a listing to Zillow last month which could be an indication that this project could finally start to move forward.

But first let's take a step back. The property at 1400 N. Howard St. is enormous, taking up an entire block between Howard and Mascher, Master and Jefferson Streets. The warehouse that's there today is similar to others in the neighborhood that have been demolished in favor of residential development.

Or maybe it's something else entirely

Remember the ski-slope building on the 1300 block of N. Front St. that we told you about last summer? Here's a look at the finished product, which looks as weird and as wonderful as we'd hoped.

Ski slope building

Just to the north of this new building, a reader recently brought the large property at 1320-48 N. Front St. to our attention. This parcel was home to a small warehouse as recently as 2007, but since its demolition the parcel has been sitting vacant and overgrown. In the last few months though, some construction equipment has rumbled on and off of the site, tearing up the concrete that had covered the lot.

About a year and a half after we told you about it

A reader tipped us off last week that construction had finally gotten underway at 1326 Mascher St., a long vacant lot in South Kensington. We told you to prepare for this project back in the fall of 2014, and at the time we predicted that construction would get moving rather quickly. And we were totally wrong. But so it goes! With construction now moving forward, look for twenty homes running between Mascher and Hancock Streets. A drive-aisle will run east to west, with two rows of ten homes on either side.

Earth moving at a formerly vacant lot
Rendering from awhile back

Back when we previously mentioned this project, we told you that the interior 3-story homes would be priced at $400K, the corner 3-story homes at $425K, and the 4-story homes at $450K. But it seems the delayed timing for the project will work out famously for the developers, as we predict that every home will sell for at least $50K more than originally planned. What makes us so confident about this? Mostly, it's the conveniently located comps immediately to the north.