Development timelines can be impossibly tough to predict. Sometimes a project comes together in a linear fashion and hits milestones as expected, progressing from permitting to groundbreaking to completion in short order. Of course, if real estate development was this easy, everybody would probably do it, right? More often than not, projects run into snags at various points in the process, forcing developers and contractors to improvise in unexpected ways.
We have to think that’s what happened with the project at 1630 Poplar St., which we previously told you about last winter. At the time, developers had just about finished tearing down an old building and had a plan to subdivide the property into five parcels and build four quadplexes. At the time, we wondered why they were leaving the western lot vacant, speculating that the adjacent 150 year old building currently inhabited by the Church of the Living God might present a construction challenge.
We still don’t know for sure why the initial development didn’t include a fifth quadplex, but now, like a delayed handoff, the developers are planning to move forward with it. They went to the ZBA last week, and got a variance to build a quadplex here, which we have to think will match the building next door. Er, the new building, not the church.
Once this project is all finished, it will add twenty new units to the block. We don’t see any listings as of yet, so we’re thinking these units will be offered as rentals. Then again, we’ve seen plenty of condos sell at good prices in Francisville, so that could still be a possibility.
If this will indeed be a rental play, we have to wonder why the developers opted for five separate structures rather than a large apartment building. Across the street, another developer is pretty far along on a 43-unit apartment building, which is replacing a vacant lot. Maybe the reason for the separate buildings is the same reason that the fifth quadplex was delayed by almost a year. Or perhaps they had a different thought process; does anyone in the neighborhood have any insight?