We keep waiting for the first domino to fall on the western side of Washington Avenue, and it now seems possible that 2501 Washington Ave. could be the first. The property is vacant today, but big things are coming. Probably.
We've covered this property a few times previously, first back in February after a preliminary community presentation. That plan included a six-story building at the corner with 79 apartments and 10K sqft of commercial space, along with a five-story 17-unit building on Grays Ferry Avenue and 17 townhomes in between. A month later, the plans had evolved after some conversations with SOSNA and near neighbors to a 60-unit building at the corner, four triplexes on Grays Ferry Avenue, and 11 homes and 4 duplexes in the middle. Since we attended the neighborhood meeting, we got a photo of the project rendering at the time, with credit to PZS Architects.
It should come as no surprise that the project has changed some more. According to the project's CDR application, the corner building now only rises 5 stories but still includes 64 apartments. The four triplexes on Grays Ferry have morphed into two duplexes, and the middle of the project will have 17 townhomes. The townhome section of the project will include a small green space that we believe will be open to the public and could be a nice amenity.
Rather than taking the project through the traditional RCO process (and being vulnurable to appeal), the developers were able to get the property rezoned to IRMX, making the project entirely by-right. Unfortunately, this meant lopping off the sixth floor to make the building conform to the code and producing a stubbier and less satisfying building. To us, at least.
But we're really picking nits here. We're totally ecstatic that this project appears to be moving forward and that this stretch of Washington Avenue will seemingly take a first step toward redevelopment. We've been saying for years that one project getting in the ground could open the floodgates, and we're standing by that assertion. And with Lincoln Square at Broad & Washington seeming like a sure thing too, we could see two bookends to western Washington Avenue under construction at the same time. Ah, what a time to be alive.