We first visited the 2500 block of W. Oxford Street back in 2017, and for a host of reasons, this feels like it was instead thirty years ago. Back then, this block felt like it was very far away from the development boom to the south in Brewerytown, due to the prevalence of blight and vacancy and the lack of any construction on the block. Nevertheless, we has a feeling that that development would continue to push to the north and would eventually change the face of the block. What we were less sure about is whether this would happen in short order or whether it would take until the next cycle for things to start moving here.
Within a year, we had our answer, and it was the former. The industrial building at 2538 W. Oxford St. had sold for $150K and its demolition was imminent. Also, developers had purchased more than half a dozen other properties on the block. Even though we didn’t see any permits for construction at the time, we had a strong sense that things would be changing rapidly. And we were correct.
2524-36 W. Oxford St. was a row of seven blighted row homes. One developer was able to purchase five of these homes and tore them down shortly after we wrote our last update here. We would have liked to see them renovated since they had nice bones, but we also can appreciate the financial calculations that went into going the demolition route. The new homes that replaced the blight sold at prices ranging from $345K to $398K, which we could not have predicted back in 2017. In case you’re wondering about the remaining two blighted homes, one is privately owned and changed hands back in 2017, so something could happen there quite soon. The other is owned by PHA, so it’s anyone’s guess what’ll happen there.
Closer to the corner of 26th Street, the old warehouse is now gone and the professional sign on the fence at the property indicates that it’s for sale. Turns out the fence isn’t telling the truth, since the property sold back in January. Apparently the previous owners subdivided the property into three parcels, which would seem to indicate that three new homes will soon appear here, joining the other new additions to the block.
Speaking of new additions, you may recall, we told you about a new apartment building that recently broke ground around the corner from here. That project calls for 28 units, which will add some welcome density to this part of the neighborhood. We were previously hoping to see some height and density at 2538 W. Oxford St., but this looks like yet another example of zoning dictating the development outcome. The property on 26th Street is zoned for residential-industrial mixed-use, and the apartment building is allowed by right. The property on Oxford is zoned for single-family homes, and any other development would require a ZBA variance. So we understand why both projects are shaping up like they are, we just find ourselves wishing for less single-family zoning. Hmm, maybe we should just eliminate it, like Minneapolis?