It was almost exactly a year ago (though it feels like at least a decade ago) that we brought 701 S. Broad St. to your attention. Back then, we told you that the property had been home to a KFC which closed in 2005 and was unused since then except as a parking lot. The old building remained though, and was covered in some terrific public art at some point in the last few years.

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In the past

While the public art made the vacant building more palatable, it still didn’t make it anywhere near acceptable or appropriate, given the 9,000 sqft size of the parcel and its prominent location. So we were all too pleased last year to share the news that the property was under agreement and that developers would be constructing a mixed-use building in its place. We had previously told you, back in 2016, that the property was listed for sale for $5.2M, and we wondered whether the ultimate sale price would approach the asking price. In the end, the property traded in April for a bit over $3.9M, which makes its redevelopment all the more possible. This summer, the old building was demoed and the site is now clear.

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Current view

When we covered this project before, the plans for this property called for a fresh food market on the first floor, 4 “hotel rooms” (maybe Airbnbs?) on the 2nd floor, and 50 apartments over the rest of the building. Looking at the most recent permits, it appears as though the fresh food market aspect of the project has been eliminated, with plans now simply calling for vacant retail space on the first floor. That space is now for lease and listed on Costar, which is where we were able to grab this rendering for the project. We’ve gotta say, it looks like this building will be pretty sweet.

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Project rendering

Looking at the design and the scale of the property, it will dovetail very nicely with the Southstar Lofts building, located just a block to the north. Southstar Lofts sits on a larger property and was able to manage an onsite parking requirement by providing spots at the property. No such luck here, where onsite parking would be impossible and the presence of the Broad Street Line precludes parking underground. Instead, the developers are leasing space in a nearby parking lot and taking advantage of another zoning bonus related to affordable housing to build this project by right. That’s a good choice, as we always recommend avoiding the risk of the ZBA whenever possible.

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Looking north - a gas station and Southstar Lofts

It’s only a matter of time before construction gets started here and this property levels up dramatically. Of course, this makes us wonder just how long it will be until the gas station across the street does the same. There’s another gas station just a couple blocks to the south and surely South Broad Street doesn’t need two gas stations so close together. Eventually one of them will turn over and we may just see a proposal for another mid-rise mixed-use building when that happens. In the meantime, the future residents of the building at Broad & Bainbridge will have to settle for gas station views- at least these views will likely only be a short term situation.