Last summer, we shared the grand news that Batter & Crumbs Cafe had opened their doors at 1401 Reed St., in a building that had once been occupied by a tavern but had been sitting empty for a years prior to the vegan cafe taking over. We were optimistic that this business would have a strong presence here for years to come, both due to the fact that the operators also had a wholesale business to sustain their operations, and also because of the growing vegan niche in the local restaurant scene. We also speculated that the new business might inject a little energy into this immediate area, which features a sizable car wash, a large surface parking lot, a rehab center, and a former auto garage.
Without thinking too much about it, the former auto garage is the obvious candidate to be the first property to see a change. As we told you almost a year ago, developers purchased the property for $700K, but at that time we didn’t know what they had planned. But now we do- they’re intending to build a three-story addition on top of the garage, which will have a total of six apartments. The ground floor will remain in place as parking for the apartments, which certainly makes sense. The project does require a zoning variance, we’d think due to the height and the lack of ground floor commercial. Given the relatively low density, the 1:1 parking, and the fact that the property sits so close to Broad Street, we’d have to think that a variance won’t be much of an issue.
Assuming that this project moves forward, the logical next step for this pocket would be the redevelopment of the car wash just a few steps to the east. We’ve certainly patronized this car wash and they’ve done nice work, but let’s agree that a car wash isn’t remotely the highest and best use for a sizable parcel on this part of South Broad Street. The property measures over 13K sqft in size and could accommodate a by-right building with ground floor retail and around fifty units. We’d suggest that even more height and density than are permitted by right would make sense here, given the size of the property, its location on Broad Street, and its close proximity to public transportation. Plus, any building that would be built here would have terrific views for any future championship parade. Ah, does that ever sound great right about now.