Looking at public record, we see that developers bought this property about two years ago, paying a staggering $580K. Intuitively, we recognized that this couldn’t possibly be the price for a single-family home with first-rate El views, even considering the proximity to Good Spoon, El Bar, and Wm. Mulherin’s Sons. Doing a little digging, we realized that the same developers purchased a total of eight small properties wrapping around the El Bar buildings, with frontage on Hope Street and Master Street. Most of these properties have been sitting vacant for a long time.
The combined parcels cover over 4,000 sqft of space, which is a nice amount of land for an apartment building. Last summer, the developers got a variance from the ZBA to consolidate some of the lots and build just that. Plans call for a five-story building with retail on the first floor and 15 apartments on the upper floors. Bright Common did the design work, working with artist Carla Weeks on the facade. The result is something we’ve never seen before. Notice how the arches in the facade are modeled after the arches of the Wm. Mulherin’s Sons building across the street and how the concrete and steel structure of the El will be similarly echoed in architectural details on the facade. The southern and western facades will be more standard.
Assuming the finished produce resembles the rendering, this building will join another one of the most unique contemporary buildings in town on the very same block. As we’ve stated many times before, we love the ski slope building at 1312 N. Front St., both for its unusual appearance and its practical approach to creating space from the El’s noisy rumble. That two incredibly unique buildings could appear on this block of Front Street would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago, but now we wonder when we’ll see the next new and different building on Front Street.