Kensington Textile Factory On The Way Out? Tuesday, February 7, 2017
At 1722-40 N. Hancock St. you can find a handsome row of old industrial buildings that have sat mostly undisturbed for about a century. But you'd better go check them out soon, because the wrecking ball is coming.
These buildings were constructed over a period of time at the beginning of the 20th century, and were originally used for the manufacturing of textiles, specifically waste and shoddy. More recently, the buildings were home to Quaker Jobbing Co. Upholstery and Mattress Supplies, as a painted sign on the building indicates.
When word came out that developers had the property under agreement, there was a submission to designate the property as historic which delved deep into the history of the buildings and the textile industry in Kensington. This came before the Historical Commission in October, with the designation getting voted down by a vote of 6-4. There was an incredibly dense conversation about the merits of the application which you can read here in the minutes, starting on page 25.
With historic designation off the table, there's a project going to the ZBA this week which would mean the demolition of the buildings and the construction of 11 homes with parking, 1 commercial space, and 2 additional residential units (apartments? homes without parking? we're not sure). The application is rather confusing, but the South Kensington Community Partners zoning committee meeting invitation from last May sums it up pretty concisely. As for what the ZBA will have to say on the subject, we can't say we know what to expect. If they give the thumbs down, the property is zoned residential and we would expect a different project with fewer units and no parking.
It will be a bummer to see these buildings demolished; do you think it's worth the price for this new development? On the plus side, assuming the project happens, the people that move here will have dangerously easy access to Federal Distilling, located just a few steps to the south. Those are the Stateside folks, by the way, and they have a tasting room on the premises. Dangerous stuff.