1620 N. 5th St. is a huge vacant lot that, as you might guess from its South Kensington location, has some serious industrial history. Turning back the clock, the parcel has had many uses over the years, with occupants including a lumber yard, a printing company, a mill, a stone yard, and many others we couldn’t readily identify based on historic maps. Most recently though, the property has sat empty, aside from hosting a trapeze setup for the Fly School Circus Arts a few years back. As it occupies about 1.25 acres on the edge of a burgeoning neighborhood, it was only a matter of time before development came for this hilariously underused parcel. And that time has come, it seems.

Vacancy up 5th Street
Looking south from Cecil B. Moore Ave.

A few years back, developers had a plan to slice off a few lots on the Randolph Street side of this parcel, ostensibly for residential development, but nothing ever came of that plan. With zoning notices now posted, we can share that the current plan for the property seems more intuitive and likely to move forward. By our reading of the application, it appears that developers are looking to build four apartment buildings with a total of 60 units and 58 parking spaces. Since the property is zoned for industrial use (a relic of its past), the developers need to go to the ZBA.

The application is a little confusing, so it’s possible the developers are actually looking to build twice as many units here, but either way this is incredibly exciting. Assuming it happens, this project should establish a new nexus for development in the neighborhood. We haven’t seen much development this far northwest in South Kensington, and with a large project clearing the path, we imagine we’ll see smaller infill projects crop up in the near future. Also, Saint Benjamin’s Brewing is just up the street, so the watering hole is already established for the immediate area. We imagine the taproom will soon see a serious uptick in business.