Halloween might have come and gone over a month ago, but we’re going to scare you this morning with a spooooky zombie project. Yes folks, it seems that the project at the northeast corner of 18th & Washington, which we first covered over six years ago, is back from the dead. And it’s hungry for brains!!!

Dumpster had just pulled away
Building still looks intact

We passed by 1731 Washington Ave. yesterday and noticed a truck hauling a large dumpster from the building. Poking around online, we discovered that the owners of the property pulled demolition permits over the last few months. In the near future, this unattractive warehouse should come down, and we assume a new building will rise in its place. The specifics of that new building are a little hazy at the moment.

Old rendering, from 2011

Back in 2011, Michael and Mario Carosella, the guys who also happen to own C&R Building Supply, got zoning approval to build a four-story mixed-use building here, with a 4,000 sqft commercial space, 15 rental apartments on the upper floors, and parking in the basement. They previously pulled another demolition permit in 2014, and we believed the project would be getting started in short order. Three years later, something is finally happening here. But what’s happening, exactly?

From what we understand, a zoning permit has to be acted upon within three years or it becomes moot. Perhaps they’ve been diligent in getting extensions for their permits and they’re moving forward with the same plan they presented all those years ago. Alternately, they could be moving forward with a completely different project, one that would be permitted by right for this industrially zoned parcel. The former scenario would be swell, and would dovetail nicely with the mixed-use projects now under construction in both directions on Washington Avenue. The latter scenario would be a step in the wrong direction for Washington Avenue, made possible by the fact that the corridor hasn’t been remapped to allow residential uses by right, as recommended by the Planning Commission. Soon enough, we should know which way this project will go, and we’d think that most people would agree that mixed-use would be the preferable outcome.