Little Lot Near Broad & Fitzwater Has Some Challenges

When we saw on the zoning calendar that 1343 Fitzwater St. was seeking a variance, we immediately suspected that the empty lot on the northwest corner of Watts & Fitzwater was getting redeveloped. But this wasn’t an accurate suspicion.

NW corner of Watts & Fitzwater

1343 Fitzwater St. is actually the northeast corner of this intersection, a vacant parcel that blends in a little more than the northwest corner, maybe because there’s always cars parked on the property and it lacks a Zagar mural. Perhaps another reason we never paid much attention to 1343 Fitzwater St. is the fact that it looks like a legal parking lot for the building next door, as there are windows on that building’s western side. But no, that building is owned by PHA and the adjacent property is owned by a developer.

NE corner

This developer is looking to build a 7-unit building here, which we imagine will go up four stories. This kind of project makes sense here, as the property is zoned for multi-family use, though the specific zoning designation is RM2, which has some setback requirements that are tough to meet. As such, we aren’t sure that the developers could possibly do anything functional here by right. One thing they have going for them is that the property is so close to Broad Street that a little extra height shouldn’t give anyone pause. The proposed project would be taller than all the other buildings as you go east on the block, but it would still be dwarfed by 777 South Broad, right across the street.

Looking east on the 1300 block of Fitzwater
777 S. Broad, across the street

The developers that bought this little corner property also purchased the parking garage at 725 S. Broad St. at the same time, the rear of which is pictured in the first photo above. In looking at their project on Fitzwater St., we figured we’d see whether they were planning anything new for the building on Broad Street. And it turns out that they are! From our reading of the permit, it appears they’re adding a couple of stories to the building and will offer the entire building as commercial space. That effort will proceed by right, so look for it to happen sooner rather than later. And figure that garage will be closing sometime soon, if it hasn’t closed already.