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Not sure how we missed this previously

We were dodging the raindrops in South Kensington today and happened upon a building under construction on the southeast corner of Hancock & Thompson. This property had been sitting vacant for a number of years, surrounded by a fence overgrown with ivy. Developers bought the parcel about a year and quickly set about building an eight-unit residential building, a project which happened to be by-right. They've made some nice progress thus far.


In the past

Current view

Harman Deutsch did the design work for this project, and thanks to the listings for the condo units in the building, we can show you an elevations drawing which will give you a sense of what the building will look like when it's finished. We're into the look, and especially appreciate the double hung multi-pane windows. Though it'll be new construction, it will probably look like a warehouse conversion, and that fits in well for this neighborhood.

Twelve-unit project was previously proposed here

Back in the fall of 2013, developers proposed a plan to demolish an old building that had been home to a plumbing business at 428 E. Wildey St. and replace it with a twelve unit apartment building. Apparently the community wasn't into the idea, opposing it at an FNA zoning meeting. As a result, the developers withdrew their application to the ZBA and when we visited the property in February of 2014 (incidentally, in the snow), it was sitting vacant and with an uncertain future. We didn't mind at the time, as we were able to tell you about some other projects happening nearby, but we had a feeling it wouldn't be our last time reporting on this property.


In the past

How right we were. We passed by the property the other day quite by accident, and discovered that the old plumbing building is gone and a new project is very much under construction. It appears that different developers came forward to buy the property, paying $765K last summer. Before they closed on the parcel, they went through the zoning process, getting approval for a nine home development, with five homes fronting Wildey Street and four homes fronting Salmon Street. One of the Wildey Street units sits above the entrance to a drive-aisle which services the parking for the other eight homes. Harman Deutsch did the architecture work.

And we can give you an idea of what it'll look like too

Take a look at this section of the 900 block of S. 5th St. back in 2007.


The view back in 2007

Passing by this area today, we see a very different scene, with previously vacant and blighted buildings either renovated or replaced. And one new building, at 934 S. 5th St., is under construction.


Current view

We actually told you about this project several months ago, when it was only a foundation. To refresh your memory, developers purchased this property and some others immediately to the east, they've combined the lots into one property, and they're building a nine-unit apartment building. It's tough to tell from walking by, but little Hall Street intersects with 5th Street here, though calling it a street instead of a path is a bit of a stretch.

Condos plus a hotel, oh my!

Bella Vista and Queen Village are a mess right now thanks to a bunch of road work, but the 500 block of Bainbridge Street was closed today thanks instead to real estate development. Two projects are simulaneously under construction on this block, and they're rather different from one another. First, let's look at the four-story building now getting framed out at 519 Bainbridge St., a former surface parking lot.


Construction next to Mostly Books

We first told you about this project last summer, shortly after the project was approved by the ZBA. To refresh your memory, there are three distinct buildings under construction here, with one unit above two parking spaces. Two additional duplexes sit behind it with a footpath that will allow access to those buildings. Eventually, another six-unit building will go up to the north, with frontage on Kater Street. Developer Haffey Homes will be listing the units for sale in the next month or so, with expected completion of the first phase at the end of the summer. Take a look at this rendering from Harman Deutsch to get an idea of what's coming.

This neighborhood is indeed on the cusp

That faint buzzing you hear is the background might just be the sound of development in South Kensington. Or maybe it's a lightbulb that needs to be replaced? But assuming it's the former, let's consider that this neighborhood has seen tremendous growth in recent years, with projects big and small dotting the landscape. New developers stepped in to buy the Soko Lofts project at the end of last year, and we imagine that project will start moving forward soon. On the west side of the 1200 block of N. 5th Street, a 29-unit project recently broke ground. And now Blackstone Development has another project planned for this neighborhood at 1222 N. 2nd St., in between the Soko Lofts and their upcoming Liberty Square project.

And we like 'em

Earlier this week, we told you about plans for six homes at 1208-12 E. Susquehanna Ave., a large parcel near Girard Avenue that's three times as deep as it is wide. The site currently underused, with only two houses and a bunch of one-story garages on the 7,700+ sqft property.


Current view

When the developers presented the project to the community last month, the neighbors opposed the project because of concerns about height, density, and pilot house size. At the time, we said that we couldn't really offer an opinion on the project without seeing the design. Thankfully, the good people at Harman Deutsch sent us a site plan and a rendering, and now we know exactly what to expect.


Site plan

You can see, the project calls for six homes positioned on the northern side of the property with a drive-aisle to the south. Most new homes in this neighborhood have a standard layout, with a width of 14-18', and a depth of 36-42'. These homes would be wider but shallower, with most of the homes measuring about 24' wide by about 30' deep. This creates a floor plate that's a little larger than the typical home and also allows for two-car parking on the first floor.

Boutique hotel for the upper floors?

This past week we checked out some interesting but slightly confusing development activity at 917 Arch St. thanks to a reader tip. This building definitely has some history, having been home to Stewart, Ralph & Company about a hundred years ago, and also housing the Asam Brothers wallpaper warehouse for a stretch. By the 1970s the structure looked pretty rough, but it's taken a turn for the better in recent years.


The building in 1975

Back in 2014

Visit the building today, and you'll see it's getting a three story addition. We've actually seen this happen to a few other properties in Chinatown, usually with a similar scale.

The end is finally in sight

Ah Constitution Court, we can finally see the finish line. We first told you about this project on the northwest corner of 3rd & Reed almost three years ago, when we told you about plans to demolish the St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, a wonderful structure built in the 1890s. We really wish that this building could have been preserved somehow, though we're not sure what other uses could have worked here.


In the past

In short order, the church came down and the first two homes of this twelve home development arrived on the scene. But somehow it came to the City's attention that the homes were two feet too tall, and L&I forced the developers to shorten the homes to the permitted height. Construction resumed in May of 2014 and has progressed ever since, though at a modest pace. This past summer, the first two homes were finished and crews were actively working on the next four homes. The pace has picked up considerably in recent months, with the row of homes on 3rd Street now finished. All of these homes appear to be sold or at least under agreement.

New building is finished

A recent commenter led us back to an interesting project which combined a surprisingly large number of units (twenty-four) with architecture that was meant to mesh with the neighboring structure. The building of interest is at 4213 Chester Ave.we first mentioned the property last year when the dilapidated twin house that was there had been demolished to make way for new development. Since the parcel itself was so large, it allowed for a larger than expected replacement structure. At that time, Harman Deutsch, the architect for this project, reached out to us and provided an applause-worthy rendering. 

One biggie is done, another wrapping up

The mansion market is alive and well in the Logan Square neighborhood. In June, we checked in on the Eight on Race project, an eight home development near 21st & Race with list prices starting at $1.75M. Today we turn our attention to two projects on 22nd Street.


Mode7 homes on 22nd Street

Phase 2 Mode7 homes on Croskey Street

We first noted the Mode7 project at 134 N. 22nd St. way back in the spring of 2011 when Masada Custom Builders had just started construction on the first two homes. That summer, framing began on the next pair of homes, and by the time 2013 rolled around three more homes were under construction on Croskey Street. These homes are all over 5,000 sqft in size, with all the high-end bells and whistles, and strong architecture work from Atrium. We were really impressed in 2012 when one of the homes sold for $1.7M and given the direction of the market in the last few years it should come as no shock that the last home in the development sold for $2.04M. Not too shabby, and it's clearly a price point that the project up the street is looking to piggyback off of.

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