A little less than a year ago, we came upon a zoning notice at 2300 Washington Ave., a huge lot that's been vacant and overgrown for years. This notice informed us of plans for a self storage facility from United Storall Center that would rise over sixty feet tall. This use and height are permitted by right since the parcel is zoned for industrial use, and the owners were seeking a variance to reduce the number of parking spots required.
When they got some pushback on the project, they abandoned the variance and are now doing the project entirely by right. So instead of twelve parking spots on the first floor, there will be fifty. Over the next four stories, there will be storage space. Basically, there will soon be a sixty-foot cube rising here:
Recently, we heard from a reader that the developers have started clearing the lot. This gives us the impression that work should be starting soon. This is a bummer on a couple of levels. First, this 25,000+ sqft lot would be a wonderful location for mixed-use development, like the project that will soon be coming to 16th & Washington. Five stories with retail on the first floor and apartments above would be a huge win for Washington Avenue. And with parking in the rear along with some setbacks, the building could give Alter Street a little room to breathe. Which brings us to the second bummer.
Last year, developers got approvals to demolish the warehouse pictured above and build fourteen homes on the south side of the 2300 block of Alter Street. When those homes are built, they'll be facing a sheer sixty-foot wall. Again, with a mixed-use project, various setbacks could have been employed to provide the homes more light and air.
This further proves the need to rezone Washington Avenue as quickly as possible. While it seems like it's too late for this particular parcel, it isn't too late for the rest of the corridor. The future for this former stretch of factories and refineries is not industry, but mixed-use. And it's borderline criminal that the zoning for the corridor still stubbornly looks toward the past.