Barna Printing operated at 2911 Tasker St. starting in 1973, specializing in letterpress printing in a time that printing anything at all required some level of special equipment. Over the last fifty years, the printing business has changed dramatically (like most businesses, now that we think about it), and the vast majority of printing work has moved online. At some point, Barna Printing ceased operations, and given the rapid pace of construction in Grays Ferry, it should come as no surprise that the site of the former printing business will soon get redeveloped. The 5,000 sqft parcel, originally used as a stone yard before its printing era, provides a nice sized canvas for a new project.

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Current view

Consistent with its history but inconsistent with its surroundings, the property is zoned for commercial use. The owners of the property recognize that the future shouldn’t necessarily reflect the past here, and applied for a zoning variance to split the parcel into six lots, with an eye toward a residential project. The ZBA granted the variance at the end of last year, and soon we’ll see six duplexes spring up here. This is certainly more consistent with the residential character of Hollywood Street, which the six duplexes will front, once construction gets moving. With the large and attractive Lanier Park immediately to the south, a project with a dozen new units makes all the sense in the world.

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Project site plan
Looking north on Hollywood Street
Big park to the south, including a playground and a dog park

In terms of development in Grays Ferry, this is a bit farther south than most of what we’ve seen to date. That being said, we’ve covered a couple sizable projects that are planned just around the corner, on the 1600 blocks of S. 29th and Dover Streets. You may recall, at the end of 2020, we told you about two different projects that called for the construction of a total of 32 homes on these blocks. Both projects received the variances they were seeking, and an old industrial building on 29th Street was torn down last year.

No construction yet around the corner

Despite these seemingly positive developments, we don’t see any actual construction at either site, to date. One of the sites is currently listed for sale, with zoning permits for 22 homes, for $2.1M – so maybe another developer will step in and buy the lot at some point. It’s certainly worth keeping an eye on this pocket, as we could see 44 new units under construction here in the near future. It’s also possible we’ll just see the duplexes move forward in the short term, while the two townhome sites continue to sit vacant.