Vacant Lot on Poplar Street Could Be an Opportunity

On the southern edge of Brewerytown, a large parcel on the northwest corner of 26th & Poplar sits vacant and blighted. Overgrown and surrounded by an unsightly green fence, it’s caught our eye for years. We’re thinking that the time has come for something positive to happen at this otherwise ignored (aesthetically and tax-wise) lot.

The lot

The rather large 12,960 sqft parcel stretches across 2601-2617 Poplar St. and is zoned C2. The lot was purchased in 1986 by the Gravely Family Partnership (who could not be reached for comment), local contractors. That partnership is registered across the street at a large garage at 909 N. 26 St., which is owned by Susan and Michael Gravely, according to public record. The 26th Street property, incidentally, went to sheriff’s sale last week, but the sale was postponed.

That property went to sheriff’s sale because the Gravely family owes over $28K in property taxes, last paying in 2005. As for the Poplar Street property, the Gravely Family Partnership owes over $36K in back taxes, having not paid in ten years. That’s over $64K in property taxes owed between the two properties!

Delinquent taxes or not, it’s time for the Gravely family to sell the parcel on Poplar Street. What would people like to see here? A site this large could be a good candidate for a mixed-use development with commercial space, apartments, and an innovative combination of a small community park or perhaps a pubic courtyard fronting Poplar Street (a la Carpenter Square). Or would a row of single family homes work for people in the neighborhood, like Fairmount Court?

And if the owners opt not to sell the parcel, and somehow catch up on taxes, how about an urban farm?

–Lou Mancinelli