We’ve been looking at two potential projects on the 4400 blocks of Chestnut and Ludlow for half a decade, following along as the plans have evolved over the years. First, in 2015, we told you that Orens Brothers intended to build a pair of apartment buildings at 4415 Chestnut St. and 4415 Ludlow St., potentially with a bridge connecting the two. By 2018, those plans had changed, as the developers presented clearer plans for 110 apartments on Chestnut Street and another 55 units on Ludlow, in a pair of six-story buildings. These plans got far down the pike, going before CDR almost two years ago. But they ultimately never came to pass, for reasons outside of the developer’s control. To put a finer point on it, the plans required the inclusion of several City owned lots, but it seems that the lots are still in City hands and the developer is pivoting to a plan that cuts them out of the equation.
Construction is already underway on Ludlow Street. In lieu of a 55 unit building, the new plans call for a five-story building with 30 units and ground-floor retail. The original plan called for the building to come out to the corner of 44th & Ludlow, but now it stops well before 44th Street. On Chestnut Street, the plans are similarly reduced, with a mere 40 units proposed, over five stories. This building will also utilize a fresh food bonus, to increase the permitted density. If we’re doing some quick mental math, this is a total of 70 units, a significant departure from the previously planned 165. Also, the old plans included parking and these buildings will ultimately provide none.
On the one hand, both of the buildings will represent upgrades over what was here previously, especially on Ludlow Street. Nevertheless, we find ourselves disappointed at the reduced density. We’re also a bit aggravated that a number of underused vacant City lots are not getting integrated into a larger project. Best case, these lots will be consolidated by a different developer and will still get used for sizable projects. Middle case, the lots won’t get consolidated and will be used for smaller projects. Worst case, the lots remain in City hands for the foreseeable future.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re glad that something is finally happening with both of these properties, we’re just a little hung up on thinking about what could have been.