Back in the summer of 2017, we were excited to share the news that developers had redevelopment plans for the southwest corner of 26th & Girard which called for a bit of scale. 2600 W. Girard Ave. had a building on it at some point, but was sitting vacant since at least the mid-1990s. If the proposal was just for this property, that would have been a solid step in the right direction for this growing commercial corridor. Fortunately, the plans also called for the consolidation of the corner lot with the two adjacent properties, presenting an opportunity for a triple-wide mixed-use building that would add a sizable retail space plus some decent density upstairs.
The proposal called for the demolition of two existing buildings, which could have been an issue on West Girard. This corridor is home to some pretty awesome old buildings that we’d hate to see torn down. The two buildings that were here, however, had their first floors coated in stucco and lacked their original cornices. So these weren’t exactly prime candidates for nomination to the historic register.
Back in 2017, the developers were hoping to build a six-story building with ground-floor retail and 25 apartments. At the time, we wondered whether they might experience some pushback against this plan, given the lack of hardship and the fact that neighborhood groups tend to not rally behind projects with extra density and no parking. We mentioned that the developers could have instead pursued a by-right plan with five stories and 16 units, which didn’t seem like such a bad outcome.
In the end, the by-right approach is exactly what happened. Groundbreaking occurred last year, and the building is well on its way. Ambit did the design work, and we’ve gotta hand it to them, they’ve planned out a handsome project. Argo Property Group is the developer here, adding to their portfolio in this part of town. They’re calling this building the Bordeaux, and boy do we ever hope that wine bar opens on the first floor.
This new building will be a nice bookend on this block, along with another recent project from Argo. We told you in 2018 about a five-story building at Taney & Girard, and the 14-unit Fairview was completed a couple years back.
Isn’t this great? A couple new projects with height, density, and retail, with older buildings in between them, creating a mix of residential and commercial rental stock. If you wish that this sort of thing could happen on your local corridor, we encourage you to reach out to your district councilperson and ask them to up-zone your neighborhood to CMX-2.5. It never ceases to amaze us just how much proper zoning can dictate improvement in one part of the city, and how the improper zoning can hold back so many other area.