Sometimes it takes an exceedingly long time for an opportunity to take shape in the real estate world, but when the stars finally align, boy does it ever feel good to see something happen. It was waaaay back in the summer of 2011 that we directed your attention to the vacant corner building at 1900 Christian St., noting that the building had previously been home to a business called Ruth’s Fresh Cooked Seafood. To be clear, we don’t go back far enough to remember a time that Ruth’s was actually operating, and we only know about the existence of that business because of old signage on some plywood that once covered the building’s window openings. Windows replaced the plywood a few years back, but the building has remained unused even as the surrounding neighborhood continued down the path of gentrification.
We heard rumblings that the building was available for sale back in 2011, but nothing ever came to pass. We’ve heard about the building on and off over the years, figuring someone would eventually come forward and buy the place but never getting our hopes too high. Finally, just a couple months ago, developers were able to purchase the property from its longtime owners, ponying up a tremendous $570K for the parcel. That price will necessitate the demolition of the existing building and its replacement with something that will deliver serious return per square foot, and by that we mean not a mixed-use building. The new owners are eyeing a quadplex as the way to move forward with the property.
Stamm Development owns the property, and this project will represent their first foray into the Graduate Hospital neighborhood. We’ve seen this company incredibly active in Francisville, where they’ve built small condo buildings and several mixed-use buildings along Ridge Avenue. At 1900 Christian St., they’re planning a by-right project which will rise four stories and include roughly 6,000 sqft of living space. By our calculations, they’ll need to sell these condo units at average prices exceeding $400K to make the project worthwhile, so keep an eye on those list prices as the project moves forward.
While you’re looking at this intersection, we suggest you eyeball two other properties at two other corners. On the northeast corner is 19 Degrees Cafe, a little neighborhood sandwich and bottle shop with a couple of rentals upstairs. This building was previously covered entirely in stucco, and the owners have built an addition and are now sheathing the building in brick. When it’s done, it should have a much improved appearance. Meanwhile, on the southeast corner is a mixed-use building that’s got a takeout Chinese restaurant called Xing Wang on the first floor. Seven years ago, we predicted that this building would turn over and get redeveloped, but it’s still chugging along, unchanged. Perhaps when the owners of this property learn what was paid across the street, they might think hard about listing their property for sale. Or perhaps things will remain this way for seven more years, who knows.