A couple years back, Pearl Properties built the Granary Apartments on the northwest corner of 19th & Callowhill, adding over 200 units and a collection of new retailers to the area. That building sold a couple years ago for a hundred twenty million bucks. Nice project, if we do say so. As far as amenities, there’s a brand new Target a block away, a relocated Whole Foods a little farther away, and uh, a bunch of museums nearby, if you’re into that sort of thing.
While the northwest corner of this intersection features a sparkly apartment building, the northeast corner is decidedly more muted. There’s an older building right at the corner which has been home to Rose Tattoo Cafe for as long as we can remember. Next to that is a surface parking lot for Franklin Beverage, a beer distributor. Next to the one-story beer distributor is a pile of rubble on a vacant lot, a property that was approved a couple years back for a 32-unit mixed-use building that has (clearly) not been built as of yet. There was a pretty nice building there until sometime last year, we sure hope it wasn’t demoed in vain and that a building will eventually sprout here.
But we digress. Today, we’re really only concerned with 1839 Callowhill St., the parking lot for the beer distributor. There’s currently a plan in the works to redevelop this property with a building with 63 apartments and retail on the first floor. And we’ve gotta say, we find this plan to be incredibly confusing. The property in question is only about 5,700 sqft in size, which means the developers are going to need to build a rather tall building to accommodate that unit count. By our measure, for a building full of miniature units, they’ll need at least 7 floors of residential units, making for an 8-story building. We wouldn’t find that objectionable per se, it just seems like a bit of a strange size for a building with a three story building on one side and a one-story building on the other side.
At least from our reading of the permits, it doesn’t appear that the project will include the beer distributor building. If it does, that would add quite a bit of logic to the project. The beer distributor could move into the ground floor space of the new building, a la Stone’s at 17th & Fairmount, and the additional lot size would probably account for a reduction of the building height by a full floor. Plus it would look less awkward for a new seven story building to stand next to another new six-story building, and not to have a little building filling the space between them.
We understand the developers presented their plans to Logan Square Neighborhood Association last month, but the community group hasn’t posted the November meeting minutes onto their website just yet. Did anyone out there attend the meeting that might be able to shed some light on what happened, how the community responded, and whether our reading of the permits accurately describes the project? Whatever form the project ultimately takes, this will be an exciting addition for this block, and should make things incrementally better for the businesses nearby. And of course, it’ll probably mean slightly longer wait times at Sabrina’s on the weekends. Oh, the humanity.