We were scrolling through the ZBA calendar for today, and it came to our attention that development could finally be in store for a corner we’ve eyed for many years. 1836 E. York St. is an oddly shaped property at the intersection of Jasper St. and E. York St., in the northwestern corner of the East Kensington neighborhood. It’s been vacant for decades as far as we can tell, and for the sake of clarity, we just want to be clear that it’s not associated with the large vacant lot next door on Jasper St. or the “White Elephant” building on Front Street.
Developers bought this property at the end of last year, paying $460K for the roughly 5,000 sqft parcel. Today, those developers are going to the ZBA, seeking approvals for a five-story apartment building with 19 apartments on the upper floors and retail on the ground floor. We don’t know exactly why the project has to go to the ZBA, as the property was remapped from CMX-2 to the more permissive CMX-2.5 designation a couple years ago. We believe the variances being sought are relatively minor, which would seem to bode well for the project’s chances at 1515 Arch St., on the 18th floor. At the very least, it’s much less of a lift than it would have been prior to remapping.
At first glance, this project feels like a bit of a gutsy move, as it sits just a few steps from the El to the west and less than a block from Kensington Avenue. Then again, we told you last fall about a more significant apartment development just a stone’s throw from here, right on Kensington Avenue. So if that project works, why wouldn’t this project make sense? And while the El isn’t exactly the ideal backdrop for any development, we’ve seen countless projects pop up on Front Street just south of here, so we understand the draw of additional infill near the El. As for what kind of business will open on the first floor of this building though, we honestly have no idea. Has anyone in the neighborhood heard about the plans for the retail space in the building?