When we were taking the photos for last week’s story about the new dog park / graffiti park where Germantown Ave. hits 5th St., we spied some additional construction just up the block, on the other triangle formed by this intersection. This triangle hasn’t hosted a pallet business, but has traditionally been home to an auto repair shop and a dance club. The auto repair shop isn’t going anywhere at the moment, but for Club 1800, the final beats dropped a couple years back.
The club was previously located at 1851 Germantown Ave., in a junky looking building coated in multiple layers of stucco. Still, it’s a roughly 4,000 sqft parcel with CMX-2 zoning, and developers bought the property for $310K back in 2016. Those developers are pursuing a by-right plan, building an addition on the existing building and creating 6 residential units on the upper floors. Since rental rates aren’t amazing above a club, it’s no shock that these developers are converting the ground floor into a business that creates a very different type of noise, a day care.
At first glance, you might think that this project is happening a little bit on the fringe of South Kensington. After all, it sits directly across the street from a shopping center that prominently features a Cousin’s Supermarket. On the plus side, the people that live in this building will have ridiculously easy access to groceries. On the other hand, living across the street from a shopping center isn’t a tremendous selling point, as we believe most people would rather live across from other homes or at least some mixed-use buildings.
Nevertheless, we believe the units will rent out relatively quickly and the day care will get good use as well. Sure, there’s a shopping center to the north, but we’ve told you about plans for a couple hundred units and a bunch of retail space on the block immediately to the south, so that will be a strong draw for the area. And don’t forget, there have been a few different town home projects to come down the pike on Berks Street a few blocks to the east which have seen brisk sales. We imagine that additional development will move to fill the gap between those projects and this one, though it might take some time for that to happen. So figure that this project will continue to feel a little fringy for now, but that probably won’t be the case in just a few years.