Over the summer, we told you about the ambitious plan from Clarke Real Estate Development LLC to construct twenty-two new homes on the 1300 blocks of Kater and Bainbridge Street, in the shadow of the 1352 Lofts. This project would not only replace a surface parking lot (always something we support), but it would represent the largest market-rate development in Hawthorne that we can think of. The only problem we could conjure up about the project was its uncomfortable proximity to a Hess gas station.
Today, we have news that the project has officially gotten underway. Four foundations have been poured on Bainbridge, surprisingly on the four lots closest to the gas station. Gotta figure the developers are thinking that they’ll sell the toughest homes first and keep movin’ from there.
There’s no question that this is an exciting project, which will contribute to the neighborhood far more than the long-present parking lot. The design from Harman Deutsch is decent, and we imagine the homes will get gobbled up fairly quickly.
That being said, this project is rather frustrating to us and represents a serious missed opportunity in our estimation. As was the case with the third phase of the Artisan homes just a block south of here, this is another large lot close to South Broad Street that could have been developed with an eye toward height, density, and mixed-use. Considering the fact that another gas station sits a mere two blocks to the south, the Hess station’s land could have been incorporated into a project that would have dwarfed the Southstar Lofts up the street.
Sure, there aren’t many developers in this town that could pull off a project like that. And yes, the twenty-two homes will be an improvement over what’s there now. But this stretch of Broad Street shouldn’t simply punt on density and commercial- it should embrace them with an eye toward the eventual redevelopment of the corner of Broad & Washington.
Or are we just dreaming here, and should we be grateful for getting anything on this long-vacant lot?