It was almost four years ago that we brought the blighted building at 2539 Grays Ferry Ave. to your attention, lamenting its condition and hoping that it would get renovated or demolished sooner than later. A near neighbor first drew our gaze to the property, informing us that the building had been sitting vacant for at least a decade, that the rear wall had partially collapsed, and L&I had declared the building “unsafe.” Somehow, the property remained in this condition until just a couple of months ago, when the building was finally torn down.
You’ll note, there’s a zoning notice on the chain link fence surrounding the property, which means that redevelopment is on the horizon. Reading the notice, we see that the proposal calls for a mixed-use building with a grocery store on the first floor and two apartments above. As the property is zoned for single-family use, this triggers several refusals.
The project came to the community last night, at the monthly SOSNA zoning meeting. The owner’s attorney described the gist of the project at some length and the architect showed some nice looking renderings of a brick building with large windows on the first floor. The vibe in the room seemed generally favorable with several people expressing their support, though some neighbors had concerns about the trash and traffic that would be generated by a corner store at this location. Toward the end of the comments from neighbors, a few people brought up concerns that the developer of the project is the same person that bought the property in 1983 and allowed it to languish for so many years. We wonder whether those comments might have changed the votes of some of the people in the room. Ultimately, it’ll be up to the ZBA whether this project proceeds as planned or whether the owner will have to go back to the drawing board. We’re kind of hoping it goes through, as it could be a long time before we see an alternate proposal, if history is any indication.
With this project moving through the community process, we turn our attention to 2535-37 Grays Ferry Ave., across the street. This property was demolished at the same time as the property at 2539 Grays Ferry Ave. by the same demo contractor, but is owned by a different party. Look for a project to come to the community for this parcel in the next month or two.