Harwin Homes, the developer for Mission Place at 21st and Naudain Sts., is constructing twenty homes on the fringe of Queen Village on the 300 blocks of Salter St. and Montrose St. On a parcel of land that once housed facilities for Consolidated Laundries, Harwin is currently finishing up the first six units and framing out the next six units of this significant project. The first six will be finished in about 30 days, and will be listed at $479K.

View from Christian St., looking South at the homes on Salter St.

This project is a long time coming. It was originally begun more than three years ago, with the foundations poured and construction planned to kick off in the Fall 2008. Prices were expected to be around $650K. As most of us remember, in October 2008, the bottom fell out of the stock market as we entered into the “Great Recession,” credit became impossibly tight, and countless large housing developments like this fell by the wayside. It’s taken almost three years to finally get under way, but as you can see, these buildings are indeed getting built. In many ways, this project is a hopeful story for developers in the post-crash world. Not only was Harwin able to hold onto the land and eventually build, but they were able to adjust the prices down to suit the current market.

The development will consist of ten homes facing Salter St., and ten homes facing Montrose St., with a private courtyard shared by all the units, and parking for every home. The houses will feature a number of desirable interior features, like high ceilings, hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, walk-in closets, etc.

With parking, security, and the benefits that come with new construction, these homes seem like a steal for Queen Village. Ah, but there’s the rub. These homes are built pretty much on top of the Riverview Courtyard Community, AKA the Southwark Public Housing Projects. As recently as fifteen years ago, three run-down public housing towers blighted the neighborhood. With the demolition of two of them and the renovation of the third, and the construction of two and three story single homes and duplexes, the current situation in the area is greatly improved. But nicer public housing doesn’t change the fact that these new homes are next door to affordable housing, which could certainly give some buyers pause. Phil Harvey, one of the owners of Harwin Homes, isn’t concerned. According to Harvey, the neighborhood is integrated with low income, medium income, and high income residents, and that people have learned and continue to learn to live together. He doesn’t see it as a problem in any way. We certainly hope he’s right.