For as long as we can remember, 808 N. 19th St. has been home to an auto garage, the misleadingly named Girard Body Shop. Of course, the auto-centric use dates back to at least the 1940s, much further back than we can remember. Interestingly, it seems the property hasn’t been used for residential purposes at any point, as it was used as a livery stable way back when, before cars were a thing. If you visit this address today, you’ll probably notice some fairly significant recent changes. We’re here to tell you that more are on the way.
You can see, the old garage building has been demolished- we’d say that this has happened in the last few weeks. Looking at public record, we can see that developers purchased the property a couple years back, paying a little shy of $1M. This would have been a hefty price if the new owners planned to keep it as a garage, but given the 12,400 sqft size of the property, the price was fairly reasonable. Based on the buildings next door, one might assume duplexes or triplexes would be the plan here. The property was zoned CMX-2 though (before being remapped to single-family), which meant that strictly residential buildings wouldn’t have been permitted as a matter of right.
The developers could have built a mixed-use building with 30 units and ground floor retail, but let’s agree that retail wouldn’t make so much sense at this location. So they went to the ZBA to skip the retail and increase the unit count. Back in January, they got approval to build a four-story building with 46 units, and doing some quick mental math, that’s over a dozen more than the 30 they could have built otherwise. We didn’t attend any of the community meetings, but we wonder whether the inclusion of 19 underground parking spaces helped the community get behind the increased density.
While this project is now moving forward, the enormous vacant lot across the street continues to sit empty. In the fall of 2017, we told you that the longtime owners of the property, the Hankin Group, was planning a project here with 66 condo units and a large retail space on the corner of 19th & Wylie. This was a pivot from a previous plan for 69 town homes. We don’t see any building permits for the property as of yet, and from what we can see the zoning permit will remain in effect until October. At this point, we have to wonder whether the apartment building on 19th Street will be started and completed before the Wylie triangle project even gets moving.