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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.