Just up the street from our office, we recently noticed a new foundation at the northeast corner of 20th & Kimball. Since we pass by this intersection just about every day, we don't typically think about the changes that have happened here over the last number of years, but seeing the new foundation brought it all rushing back to us.
Just to the north of the foundation, PHA built a two-story building in 2010. This project was fought by neighbors and SOSNA, with the District Court of Common Pleas overturning its zoning variance in 2011. Yet it remains in place, which shows that building "at risk" can sometimes come with no risk at all. To be clear, we don't object to affordable housing at this location, we just wish the architecture wasn't so… terrible. Given the desirable address, wouldn't three stories have made more sense here? Another frustrating element of this project is that it was built in the center of five lots, leaving weird side yards on either end of the building, ostensibly to accommodate a couple of windows.
Speaking of PHA, they continue to own the pair of vacant lots on the northwest corner of this intersection. You may recall, there were two vacant and blighted buildings here for many years that PHA finally demoed during the summer of 2013. We were hoping, back then, that PHA would either sell off the lots to developers or build new affordable housing units (with better architecture than the building across the street). But neither of those things happened and we're left staring at vacant lots.
Things have also changed on the southwest corner, where a condo building rose a few years back. We now realize that we haven't updated this project since March of 2013, when construction was just getting started. As you can imagine, the building was completed in early 2014 and the units sold out, with prices ranging from $345K to $469K. As each unit comes with parking, we imagine the prices would be even higher if any of the units were to go on the market today.
But we digress! The northeast corner, where we spied the foundation, has been vacant for many years, as long as we can remember. Since it's zoned multi-family, the developers are building a duplex here by right, like many of the other newer properties nearby. We'd guess that the units to be sold off as condos, though rentals are always a possibility. And whoever moves into these units, sometime in the middle of next year, will be among the first to know when something finally happens on the northwest corner. If and when that day ever comes, we hope they'll be kind enough to give us an early heads up.