We’ve long admired the two-story building at 1201 Wharton St., having written a story about it way back in 2011. The building is nothing spectacular, though it does stand out from its largely residential surroundings for a few reasons. First, it’s four times the size of most of the other lots nearby, due to its double-width and the fact that it runs all the way to Titan Street. There’s also something a little monolithic about it, since it covers so much ground with 100% lot coverage on both of its two floors. And we’ve gotta tell you, we love a 2nd floor door that goes nowhere. Even though we’re sure that door hasn’t operated for decades, we still feel like some railings would be a nice idea.
It appears that the building was constructed in the early 1900s and was first used as a storage facility for a grocery concern called Showell & Fryer. That company went bust in relatively short order, and by the 1960s the building was used as an auto garage of some kind. More recently, and by that we mean since the 1980s, the building has been used as an office and shop for a plumbing company. When we wrote our previous story, we mentioned that the plumber might be looking to retire “soon.” Almost a decade later, it looks like the time has come.
The zoning notice on the building indicates that developers have the property under agreement and are pursuing a plan to build a third floor addition. They wish to create ten apartments in the building and will also include a retail space on the first floor, but the project will first need community support and then ZBA approval before it can move forward. We’re certainly fans of the idea, and even though it’s not zoning related, we’d be curious to see how the project will be executed architecturally before offering our full throated endorsement. Such a project could be approached in a number of ways, and we’re just hoping that the history of the building still shines through after it’s chopped up into apartments. Clearly, that 2nd floor door to nowhere is a huge priority for us as well.
Assuming the project moves forward, the people that eventually move here will have plenty of amenities in their immediate orbit. Columbus Square Park, currently undergoing a major renovation, sits right across the street. A City Fitness location is on the first floor of the apartment building on the opposite corner, in the converted former Annunciation BVM School. A renovated Municipal Complex is on the horizon, just a few steps away. And don’t get us started on Mighty Bread, which is a little more than a block to the south. Ooh, could we ever go for a pinza right now.