If you’ve spent much time in Point Breeze, you’ve surely noticed the atypical homes on the 2100 blocks of Alter, Ellsworth, Annin, and Federal Streets. As we told you way back in 2011, roughly two-dozen homes were constructed as for-sale affordable housing on these blocks in the early 1980s, eschewing traditional row home architecture. These homes are all two-story twins with driveway parking, gabled roofs, and a healthy dose of vinyl siding. They also happen to sit on jumbo-sized lots, which has made them incredibly attractive to developers looking to unlock underused property in Point Breeze.
You may recall, a couple years back a developer (associated with OCF) purchased the home at 2103 Ellsworth St. and tore it down, replacing it with two new homes. At the time, and not because we’re biased, we cheered the move and predicted that we’d see similar plans emerge for these homes over time, in a similar way that we’ve seen significant changes on blocks of 19th and 20th Streets in Francisville. To date, we’ve seen one such project move forward on the 2100 block of Annin. Now we can share that there’s another one coming, and it happens to be right next door to the aforementioned project on Ellsworth Street.
There are currently zoning notices posted to 2105 and 2107 Ellsworth St., indicating that demolition is in the immediate future for both homes. Unlike the project next door, which only went for two home by right, here the developers are looking to subdivide each property into three new lots, with plans for a total of six homes. This plan will require approval from the ZBA, since the subdivision would create lots that are about 30% smaller than are permitted by the code, and also homes that are 10% narrower than the code allows. In a vacuum, this project would be an obvious candidate to receive a variance, but the zoning process is rather fraught in Point Breeze, and we can’t even begin to handicap how the ZBA will respond to the proposal. We can predict, however, that the community won’t be lining up in support.
While we’re here, we might as well show you the progress at 2128 Ellsworth St., which we previously covered over the summer. Remember, developers here are building a new home and are converting an old garage into a duplex. Even though construction seems to be moving at a snail’s pace around town in 2020, this project is making good progress, with the addition to the garage already framed out and some nice looking windows installed on those upper floors. We’ll be excited to see what that project looks like when it’s all finished, with early signs pointing to the fulfillment of our hope that it will add to the architectural diversity of the neighborhood. Certainly, the proposal across the street could do the same.