Long Stalled Project Finally Demolished Near Future Cascia Center

Three summers ago, we first told you about 1402 Ellsworth St. and an unpopular plan to build an addition onto the building to create three apartments within. By March of 2012, some work had taken place on the property after the ZBA approved the project, but efforts stalled when a community group appealed the decision. With our typical prescience, we worried that the project could be stuck in limbo for months or even years.

In the past

Regrettably, it was the latter. As recently as a couple of months ago, the sad remains of this building stood on the corner of Carlisle & Ellsworth, apparently held up by some angled timber. When we passed by earlier this week, though, we discovered that the building is now gone.

Now a vacant lot

Apparently, the integrity of the property was so compromised by the half-finished construction that demolition was the only option. Earlier this month, as a matter of public safety, the City tore down what was left of the building and cleared the lot. There’s now a roughly $20K lien on the property, should the owners wish to do anything with it in the near future. If our reading of the record is correct, it seems the ZBA reversed their original decision in December of 2012. So with plans for three apartments apparently scuttled, it seems they’ll have to come back to the community with a new concept. Otherwise, they could sell the now vacant lot.

Sadly, the future Cascia Center

Across the street toward Broad is another vacant lot which will almost definitely be the eventual home of the Cascia Center. Remember, we told you about the shameful underuse planned for this site with a one-story building plus a parking lot back in March. The project finally went to the ZBA earlier this month, where the case was held pending feedback from the Planning Commission. We would have to imagine the Planning Commission will agree with us that the use of the site is underwhelming, but they’ll be hard pressed to oppose a new community center. Ditto the ZBA, we’d guess.

Did anyone attend the ZBA hearing for this property who can give us a sense of their feedback on the project? We’re still holding out a flicker of hope that somebody will force these guys to improve their proposal for this key corner. But that flicker is fighting against a fierce wind at the moment.