We've had our eye on the northeast corner of 26th & Poplar for some time, and now it appears that the property is finally getting redeveloped in earnest.
We first visited the property a little over two years ago, when we noticed that the owners had pulled permits to add roof decks to the long vacant warehouse on the property, and we were hopeful that the building would get converted into apartments. That dream died about a year later when we told you that the warehouse was getting torn down, and at that time we speculated that mixed use would be in the offing, but we confess that we were just speculating. A couple of readers have reached out of late though, letting us know that construction seems to be getting started here, and that's generally a pretty good indication that the developers have come up with a plan for the property.
According to the permits, the developers will construct a pair of three story buildings here. One building will have two retail spaces and seven apartments, while the second building will have one retail space and five more apartments.
While this is generally good news, we confess we're a little confused. With a 7,000 sqft lot, there was a real opportunity to build something taller and denser, perhaps with a parking component. This could be a situation where the developers were looking to build something that didn't require a variance, and the area is getting a suboptimal project as a result. Also, we're not sure we understand the logic behind building two separate buildings with three small commercial spaces instead of one building with two larger commercial spaces, but perhaps this was somehow necessary to move forward with a by-right project.
Any time we visit this intersection, we are obligated to mention the property on the northwest corner, which you can see is sitting empty. Part of this lot was previously occupied by the vacant and blighted Old English Tavern building, but that place was torn down in 2014. Half a year ago, we told you about plans for a new project on this huge parcel, with 75 apartments and 38 parking spots, but readers were skeptical. The owners of the property are the Graveley family, who have sat on large tracts of land in the area for years, sometimes with fat tax delinquencies. These owners have presented plans for their properties in the past that have fallen through, and that's exactly what seems to have happened here. This project was continued twice at the ZBA and ultimately withdrawn in September. So at this point, we don't know what's happening here, if anything, in the immediate future. Perhaps someone living in the area has some additional insight?