What’s Happening at 12th & Spring Garden?

A couple years back, we told you about a blighted former auto repair shop at 1200 Spring Garden St. and wondered whether it could get redeveloped at some point in the near future. Oh, for a detailed history of this property from the profound and profane GroJLart, click here (RIP City Paper). To recount some recent history, investors bought the property back in 2008 for a little over $1M, shuttered the auto shop, put a chain link fence up around the property, and proceeded to collect beaucoup bucks from four billboards while the property sat otherwise unused and overgrown. The surrounding neighborhood has been on an upward trajectory since then, but this property has looked worse every year.

We passed by earlier this week though, and spied a bunch of building materials on the property. We're talking stacks of 2x4s and plywood and a huge pile of sand. Check it out.

Building materials on site

Better view

We were, as you can imagine, rather excited, thinking that something was finally happening to this property after almost a decade of vacancy. So we checked the L&I Map, only to discover that no permits have been posted. Then we checked public record, hopeful that new owners had stepped forward to purchase the property. No such luck. We reached out to a couple of people who generally know things about development in this neck of the woods and sadly came up empty there as well.

So… has anyone in the neighborhood heard anything about this property? Is something finally happening here? Or is the site just being used to house building materials for some other project? Side note, the City Paper story mentioned above described a sunset provision for certain types of billboards in the summer of 2014. Is it possible that these billboards are no longer legal?

We can only hope that there are indeed permits on this property that haven't been posted online and there are also new owners that haven't yet appeared on public record, as these owners have done almost nothing to maintain their property over the years. And while we're in the hoping mood, perhaps someone can also come forward to purchase and redevelop the huge vacant lot across the street?

Lot across the street, Church of the Assumption to the north