A couple of readers have reached out in recent weeks, wondering about the ongoing construction at 1425 Federal St., a building that was most recently the home of Mel Davis Used Cars. Just a few years back, when Mr. Davis was still doing his thing, there were two other auto centric businesses on the 1400 block of Federal, with Model Auto Body Co. and Dong’s Auto Repair. Now only Dong’s remains, as the Model building was demolished as part of an upcoming apartment project which we covered last fall.

In The Past
In the past

If you visit this property today, you’ll notice that it’s under heavy construction. What gives?

Current View
Current view

The actual project is not all that interesting, we’re sorry to say. New owners stepped in a little over a year ago, paying almost $1.1M for the 10K sqft building. According to the permits, they’re renovating the building to have commercial space on the first floor, and will use the back of the first floor along with the 2nd floor and a small addition on the 3rd floor as a single apartment unit. According to the zoning code, developers could, by right, use only the first 30′ of the property for retail and then use the rest of the building for 13 residential units. Given the building’s proximity to South Broad Street and the fact that an apartment building would seem like a much better investment than a single apartment, we have to say we’re surprised with their decision.

To The East, Toward Broad Street
To the east, toward Broad Street

Then again, if we personally had the opportunity to live in huge apartment in a converted warehouse across from Dong’s Auto Repair, we might just have a different perspective on the matter.