About a year ago, we first brought 540 and 542 Lombard St. to your attention, two blighted properties owned by nearby Mother Bethel AME. In a neighborhood like Society Hill, that two adjacent properties could sit vacant for years seemed inconceivable. A couple of months ago, we gave you the good news that permits were pulled for the renovation of 540 Lombard St., which had been sold to developer Haviv David. As you can see, quite a bit of progress has occurred since August.
In case it’s not clear, the old facade has been torn down, and a new one has risen in its place. We’d love a real cornice on the new property, but it doesn’t look like that’s in the cards.
Looking next door, you can see that 542 Lombard St. looks the same. But wait! What’s that orange sign in the window?!?
It’s a zoning notice from September! As we were taking a closer look at the property, a couple of workers opened the front door, startling us some. They explained that the church has maintained ownership of this building, which was once an antique store, and is rehabbing it to eventually contain three apartments. They didn’t know when the project would be finished, but they did share that the project got approval at the ZBA.
While we can’t be sure of how the financing is working for this project, it’s not a stretch to guess that the sale of the building next door is funding the renovation of the corner property. And you know what, it doesn’t even matter! We’re just happy to see these two buildings finally coming back into use after years of blight and vacancy.