Apartment Building Would Be An Upgrade on 16th Street

We’ve seen a smattering of projects improve the 700 block of S. 16th St. over the last several years, as some new homes have replaced vacant lots and blighted buildings. Developers came before the community last month with a plan for another incremental improvement for the block, looking to demolish a double wide industrial building at 746-48 S. 16th St. and to replace it with an apartment building.

Looking up 16th Street, from Catharine
Double wide building will be demoed

This property actually came to the community once before, in 2015, with the developers proposing a 10 unit building that would have gone up 6 stories. That version got shot down at the ZBA, probably due to neighbor concerns about the height of the project. This time, they’ve reduced the height and the number of units, proposing a 5-story building with 7 units and 8 parking spaces on the ground floor.

This project surely got refusals for height and parking, but not for density, as the property is zoned for multi-family use. It’s a bit of a tricky situation though, for a few reasons. The property already has two garages and the plan would eliminate one of the curb cuts and add a space back onto the street. In addition, neighbors in Graduate Hospital tend to worry about parking, so we’d think that the parking aspect would be an attractive aspect of the project. The height refusal is driven by the parking on the first floor- without the parking, the building would only go up four floors and come much closer to the 38′ height requirement in the code. We should note, the developers could build a three-story ten unit building here without parking by right, which many neighbors might like less than the project that’s on the table. We’ll see what the ZBA has to say about it, but we’re cautiously optimistic that this thing will happen.

Looks like a former firehouse to the south

A few doors to the south, 752 S. 16th St. looks like it was originally built as a firehouse. As it’s also zoned multi-family and also has a curb cut, we wonder whether the owners of this property will be encouraged to tear this building down and replace it with a similar apartment building to what’s planned to the north. Considering the unique nature of the building, we’d much rather see it stick around, but we wouldn’t be shocked to see it go sometime in the coming years, especially if the nearby project gets approval.