After Long Delay, Condo Project Coming on Buttonwood Friday, July 14, 2017
Do we ever love a good zombie project. When we use this term, we're referring to projects that we covered long ago that never happened, and then years later they suddenly move forward, and it's as if they rose from the dead. Zombie project. Get it?
But let's not get distracted by amazing dance moves from the 1980s. Instead, let's turn our attention to 1325 Buttonwood St., a one-story garage that isn't doing anybody much good. In the summer of 2013, developers went to the ZBA with a plan to demolish this building and replace it with a five story building with ten apartments and four parking spots. The ZBA shot 'em down. By the end of the year, they came back with a revised plan for eight units and four parking spots and got approved. We wrote about the project in early 2014, and told you to "look for demolition to begin sooner rather than later," and we were way off base. The building remains intact, as of yesterday.
If the demolition notice on the building is any indication, it shouldn't be hanging around for much longer. So... what took so long? We're not sure but digging through the recent ownership history, we think we might have a sense of what happened. We believe that the developers that brought the property through the zoning process had it under agreement with a zoning contingency, closing on it in January of 2014. With zoning approvals in hand, they put the property on the market for $600K, a common move in the real estate development world. But no buyers were interested at the time. Finally, early this year, new developers stepped in, paying $575K for the property. And now they're moving forward with the project that was approved two and a half years ago.
It might have taken way more time than we could have expected, but we'll be pleased to see this project finally move forward. If things really work out, the new ownership will push for some different material choices for the facade, perhaps to give it a more industrial look. Might we suggest looking around the corner for some inspiration?
Please Philadelphia developers, give us more buildings like this one.
And be sure to watch out for those zombies.