We’ve always appreciated the architecture of two yellow buildings at the corner of 19th & Harper, even though they’ve been showing their age for quite some time. That condition is probably due to the fact that metalworker Komplete Welding occupied the two buildings for a number of years, and let’s agree that metal fabrication is going to have more of an impact on a building than a residential use. The relatively poor condition of the building didn’t stick out so much until just a few years ago, because so many buildings in Francisville were in rough shape. But as the neighborhood has seen a dramatic increase in development activity, the contrast has started to increase. Likewise, as the neighborhood has changed, it has felt less and less reasonable for this kind of business to operate on an otherwise residential street.
So it should come as no surprise that the metal working business has picked up and moved to the suburbs and a developer has purchased the two buildings. That sale occurred a little over two years ago, with the developers paying $400K for the combined properties. Now, the developers are renovating the former industrial buildings into residential buildings. This plan calls for the conversion of the southern building into a single-family home with a garage and the addition of a third floor onto the corner building and its conversion into a duplex. You can see, work is already underway- just how much the renovated buildings will maintain their current charm is unclear at this time.
The building next door was clearly built at the same time as the two former welding buildings, and was renovated several years ago into what we’d call a higher end boarding house, the Royal International House. That renovation, which essentially repainted the bricks, touched up the cornice, and painted the star joists with an accent color (along with a bunch of interior work), shows a great template that we hope the developers will follow next door. Truth be told, as long as the renovated buildings look relatively similar to the way they look now and don’t look like new construction, we’ll consider it a win.