At the northwest corner of 26th & Federal stands the Progressive Worship Center, a Baptist church that’s been operating since at least the 1990s. Also since the mid-1990s, an individual named Julius Cooper owned the sizable lots immediately to the west of the church. He didn’t exactly keep them in pristine condition- more specifically, they were overgrown and trash strewn, and were blighting influences on the block.
More recently though, things changed for these properties. 2605-07 Federal St. sold at sheriff’s sale in 2012, and that buyer flipped the property to new developers in 2014. Also in 2014, Mr. Cooper sold 2609-11 Federal St. to a different developer, unfortunate since a single developer owning both properties would have potentially designed a more intuitive redevelopment. But maybe not, who knows. We brought these properties to your attention back in 2015, telling you that developers were planning a six-unit apartment building on the eastern parcel and a four-unit apartment building on the western parcel. Both of those projects were unconfirmed, as they required zoning approval.
Needless to say (since we’re now revisiting the properties), both projects got the variances they were looking for.
The six-unit building looks like it wrapped up a couple months ago, and we see that three bedroom units are renting for $2,100/mo and two bedroom units are going for $1,600/mo. Those rent numbers would have been inconceivable at this location just a couple years ago, but it seems this is now the going rate for new construction rentals in this part of Grays Ferry. And we have to think that in a year, once the construction next door is finished, those rental rates will even creep up a little bit higher.
You can clearly see that the western building still has some work to go. Notwithstanding its current construction state, we are a little confused as to why those developers opted for this plan. As we said, there are four units in the building, but there’s also office space on the first floor and two parking spaces in the rear. We don’t imagine there’s much demand for office space on the 2600 block of Federal, so maybe the developers are planning to open a small real estate office in that space. That would seem to be the only logical explanation for the inclusion of commercial space in the building at the expense of two apartments. Or maybe we’re missing something?