About fifteen years ago, we had the misfortune of having our car stolen off the street in the Logan Square neighborhood. That car, a 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, was truly a piece of junk, and before it was stolen we often made the joke that it was such a lousy car it wouldn’t even want to steal itself. Tell that to the guy that stole it, crashed it into a person, and then crashed it into some other cars, before fleeing the scene. The police never found the guy that stole the car, but they did find the totaled car, and they brought it to the junkyard on the 1700 block of S. 25th Street. Said junkyard was kind enough to offer $120 for scrap from the car, and we haven’t been back to this block since then. Until now, that is.

View of 1701 S. 25th St.

The junkyard is still in operation as far as we can tell, but it appears that a portion of their property may soon change in a major way. Next year, a plan will come before the ZBA to redevelop 1701 S. 25th St. from its current use into something residential. The exact plans call for a half dozen homes and a half dozen duplexes, with a drive-aisle between them. We would guess that the drive aisle will use the existing curb cut on 25th Street because the property is slightly larger from north to south than it is from east to west. Also, putting the drive aisle on 25th Street means that only 2 of the buildings will sit against the viaduct, rather than 6 of them.

Construction two blocks north
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Site plan for the project at Dickinson Street

This project reminds us of another development that’s ongoing at the corner of 25th & Dickinson. That development has exactly the same density, but on a much larger footprint, which is allowing that project to only have one building next to the viaduct, while setting the duplexes way back from 25th Street. 1701 S. 25th St. doesn’t allow for this approach, alas, as it’s about 30% smaller in size. When we checked in on the Dickinson Street development over the summer it was still just in the foundation stage, but as you can see, it’s progressed to framing over the last several months.

The project at 1701 S. 25th St. still has one big hurdle to overcome, and that’s the aforementioned ZBA hearing. The property is zoned for commercial and industrial use, so the residential plan will require a variance. We aren’t sure how the ZBA will rule, but given that several other residential projects have dropped on this corridor in the last couple years, the plan seems reasonable enough to us. We have to wonder, assuming this plan moves forward, might we see additional parts of the junkyard turn over and make a move toward residential uses? Certainly, that would only improve the quality of life for the folks that ultimately live here. That is, assuming the ZBA gives the thumbs up and the buildings are, in fact, built.