Scanning the ZBA calendar earlier this week, we noticed that a new project at 1648-50 Ridge Ave. went to the board yesterday. This property, which sits next door to a community center disguised as a shoe store (because the building once housed a shoe store), has been sitting vacant for a really long time. A developer did something pretty smart and bought these parcels a couple years ago for a combined $160K. Today they might sell for twice the price or more. Now, the developers are looking to cash in on their investment and build a 12-unit building with ground floor retail. We don’t know what the ZBA said about the proposal, but considering the projects that have come down the pike in recent years, we don’t see why they would have taken a negative view of this one.
If you turn your gaze to the southeast (into the sun), you’ll see some examples of what we’re talking about. On the south side of the street, at 1634 and 1636 Ridge Ave., we see a pair of mixed-use buildings. Across the street at 1625 Ridge Ave. is another such building, but with a much more unique shape.
In the other direction is yet another mixed-use building at the corner, which we told you about before it went to the ZBA in 2015. That property was previously home to a two-story structure with a memorable memorial mural for a neighbor who perished due to gun violence. As you can imagine, the mural has disappeared with the renovation of the building.
These buildings, and several others like them in both directions, have dramatically changed the circumstances of Ridge Avenue over the last several years. This corridor was almost completely deserted, and now it’s got a couple fistfuls of brand new retail spaces, ready to accommodate new neighborhood businesses. As we’ve said on numerous occasions though, the corridor has yet to turn the corner in terms of attracting new businesses to those spaces, but we’re bullish that the change is just beyond the horizon. With so many projects in the neighborhood and so many new residents, this corridor is poised to serve a bustling neighborhood… sometime very soon.