Last week, representatives from Tower Investments went before the ZBA with a proposal to convert 201 Spring Garden St., currently set up as a commercial building, into 17 condo units. Tower has owned the property since 2006, when they purchased the building in a package along with some property on Green Street that was developed into single family homes just this past year.

201 Spring Garden

Green St homes

According to representatives from Tower, who presented to the NLNA Zoning Committee last month (for a second time), the commercial arrangement simply isn’t working at this location, despite the tax breaks inherent in the fact that the building is a Keystone Opportunity Zone. The developer wishes to eliminate all commercial uses at this property, and create 5 condos on the first floor, 3 condos on each of the remaining four floors, and a parking space in the adjacent lot for each unit.

Better look at the current commercial tenant

While it certainly makes sense that Tower is seeking a more successful use for this property, we’re perhaps a little skeptical about the idea of selling, rather than leasing the apartments in this building. True, the location is very convenient for people wishing to take the El to work as well as fitness fiends who will have a 30 pace commute to City Fitness across the street, but there are drawbacks as well. Spring Garden Street is not very walkable (yet), and Finnigan’s Wake, which stands to get louder and rowdier in the years to come, is on the same block.

Democratic Headquarters next door and Finnigan's just to the west

On the other hand, we’re encouraged to see this old building, once used to fabricate doors and hardware by James Doorcheck Inc., maintained and preserved. While we can’t find a photo of the front of the building, we did find this shot of the rear from back in 1964. As you can see, the place looks a little different these days than it did back then.

In 1964

Wish they woulda kept the tower. Kind of ironic they didn't, huh?