Given its prominent Bella Vista locale, you wouldn’t necessarily expect a whole lot of change on the 700 block of Carpenter Street. Despite experiencing a few huge projects in recent years, this neighborhood is incredibly well established and we simply don’t see that many development opportunities around here. Sure, maybe the occasional one-off, but multiple projects on a single block is not the norm. And yet, three different projects have absolutely changed things on this block over the last couple years.

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In the past

Back in 2016, we brought 727 and 729 Carpenter St. to your attention. Developers had purchased the properties soon before and had recently demolished the home at 729 Carpenter St., a mercy demo indeed given its poor condition. Looking at the permits at the time, we recognized that a similar fate would be in store for the long-vacant four-story building at 727 Carpenter St. as well as the unexpected industrial building located behind the demoed home. We didn’t see any permits indicating next steps, but we speculated that a couple of single family homes were probably in the works, based exclusively off the fact that the properties were zoned for such a use. And indeed, we were spot on in our prediction!

Current view

The sale prices are a bit higher than we would have expected. 727 Carpenter St. sold earlier this year for $1.2M, while 729 Carpenter St. is currently listed for $1.4M. Don’t get us wrong, this is a great block in a great neighborhood, and from the looks of them these houses are huge so it makes sense that folks are willing to pay a premium price. We confess, we’re a bit surprised that the prices are in this range given the lack of parking. It’s also hard to judge though, since the listing lacks a description and photos. So maybe it’s the design and the finish work that take these homes to the next level, we just don’t have any way of knowing.

New building

For the new home at 739-41 Carpenter St., however, an ultra-premium price would make perfect sense. You may recall, this property was sitting vacant for a very long time, getting intermittent use as a parking lot, and featuring a sign that strongly discouraged people from letting their dogs poop in the lot (common courtesy, people). In 2018, we noted that this parcel was listed for sale and speculated that someone could buy it and build a couple homes by right or might get creative and try to build three homes along a drive-aisle or a small apartment or condo building. We didn’t expect that someone would build a huge single home on this 3,500 sqft lot, but that’s exactly what has happened. We’re pretty sure it’s a custom build though, so don’t wait around for the open house for this one.

Corner of 8th & Carpenter

Finally, this brings us to 941 S. 8th St., the building at the northeast corner of 8th & Carpenter. We looked at this building way back in 2011 (yikes), pointing out a shuttered corner store that looked like the owners just locked the doors one day in 1992 and never came back. And we lamented the upper floors, where the windows were replaced by plywood farther back than we could remember. By 2015, new owners had gutted the commercial space and fixed up the facade, and we’ve been expecting a new restaurant on the first floor ever since. Per the Inquirer, a restaurant was getting close last year, and simply looking in the windows, it looks like a restaurant could open in a few days. However- you might have heard we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. And the small size of the place would make social distancing impossible. So we don’t imagine anything will open here til next year, at the earliest.