YWCA Residential Conversion is Progressing

It seems like the renovation of the former YWCA building at 1605 Catharine St. has been in the works forever. It was way back in the summer of 2011 that we first told you that the building was available for sale for $2.2M, discussing the opportunity presented by such a large site but lamenting the price that was, at that time, a little on the high side.

In the past

A little more than a year later, developers came to a SOSNA zoning meeting and presented plans for 33 apartments and 23 parking spots. The proposal preserved the front of the building and called for a five-story addition in the rear. Near neighbors didn't like the height of the proposed addition and also had issues with the density despite the roughly 3:2 parking ratio. A few months later, the developers returned with a lower unit count of 28 and a slightly shorter addition, and the project got support from almost everyone at the meeting.

Perhaps concerned about the handful of neighbors still opposed to the project or maybe just to mitigate risk, the developers sat on the property for a couple of years and last summer came back to it with a by-right plan. As we told you back then, the final design will, like the previous incarnations, call for the demolition of the rear of the building, but the new addition will only rise 38', the maximum height permitted by the code. The project will have twenty-nine apartments and zero parking spots, making for a truly transit-oriented project in the middle of this residential neighborhood. From an urban planning perspective this is probably the best version of the project, though we'd have to imagine that many people who live nearby would have preferred the iteration that had a bunch of parking spots.

We passed by the other day and were cheered to see some real progress. The facade has been cleaned up considerably and the new windows look great. Peeking through those sparkly new windows, we can see framing for the future apartments.

Current view of the building

From the other direction

The back of the building is gone and work is underway on the addition. Looking next to the building we can see a new foundation and that the first floor is getting framed in steel.

Steel is visible from Catharine Street

This project still has a long way to go until it's finished but after so many years it's a great treat to see progress of any kind. Figure the property should be ready for occupancy by the end of the year. Maybe we'll be lucky and get a tour.