A reader reached out last week, wondering about the opportunity represented by a large property listed for sale in the Grays Ferry neighborhood. 2844 Tasker St. is indeed sizable, with a 61′ depth and running 280′ along Dover Street. The 17K+ sqft lot is listed for sale for $900K and relatively little creativity a developer could fit 16 or 17 new homes on this parcel. But would someone choose to take this approach?
For a few reasons, we’d say “probably not, at least not now.” Sure, we’re seen a smattering of new projects scattered around Grays Ferry over the last few years, but most of those projects have been in the northeastern corner of the neighborhood, close to Point Breeze. This property is squarely in the middle of the neighborhood, surrounded by a mix of older homes and just a block away from the PHA Tasker Homes. This isn’t to say that developers don’t build near PHA, it actually happens pretty regularly. We just don’t see the demand for market rate development in this section of the neighborhood at this time. And it may be quite some time before we do, if it ever even happens.
Most likely, we can see one one of three scenarios playing out. Most likely would be the current owners continuing to hold onto the property, as they’re unable to find another developer that’s willing to meet their price. Another possibility is that a developer will indeed be able to come to an agreement with the sellers, but it will be a long term play and they’ll sit on the property and pay the under $2K annual property tax while they speculate. Or maybe they won’t pay their taxes, as countless others have gotten away with not paying property taxes for many years in this town. Finally, we can see a situation in which a developer buys the property and build a commercial building here, as it’s zoned for that use. The rest of the square block is occupied by commercial buildings, so commercial would probably make the most sense here and would provide the highest return.
Maybe medical offices would make sense here? A laundromat? A commissary? Any of these uses would be possible by right and would seem like a more natural fit than market rate residential development at this location. Of course, we’ve been wrong before. Maybe you see the demand in the market that we’re just not seeing right now and could spearhead a successful residential project at this address. If so, we hope you’ll kick us a finders fee, even though we told you it was a bad idea.