More Info on Germantown Avenue Project in South Kensington

With numerous projects popping up on the 1400 block of Germantown Avenue over the last few years, the large property at 1413-27 Germantown Ave. represented one of the more tantalizing development opportunities in South Kensington. So it was with some intrigue that we brought the property to your attention about a year ago, noting that it was listed for sale for $3.9M and wondering just how much someone would actually be willing to pay for it. We still don't know the answer to that question, since it still hasn't officially sold just yet- but it's been under contract for many months and we've now heard about two very different development plans for the property. 

View of the site from last year

Over the summer, we told you that developers were planning to build a four-story addition on the warehouse building that covers half the property, converting it into a mixed-use building with 57 apartments and 3 live-work spaces. Next door, they were looking at building another 18 single-family homes, each with parking. Seemed like a reasonable plan to us at the time, but the community wasn't responding all that favorably. Perhaps it was because of that community reaction that the developers decided to go back to the drawing board, as the plan for the property that's described in their Civic Design Review application is quite different.

Elevation of the project

Overhead view

Adaptive reuse shmadaptive reuse! The new plans entail demolishing everything on the site and building a pair of six story buildings. The southern building will have 50 apartments and 15 parking spots, while the northern building will have 70 apartments and 22 parking spots. Needless to say, the units will be much smaller in the northern building. Both buildings will have about 5,000 sqft of industrial use on their first floors, and we wonder whether those will be live/work spaces as planned in the previous iteration of the project. Alternately, the spaces might be marked as industrial during the planning process and may revert to retail or residential once the buildings are constructed. Certainly worth monitoring in the coming years.

The property has an IRMX zoning designation and this project will occur by-right. Because of the size of the project and the number of units, it needs to go to CDR, but as we've told you before the recommendations of the CDR committee aren't binding so when the project comes up next week the stakes will be incredibly low for the developers. We have to imagine that the developers would have rather built their original proposal (otherwise they wouldn't have proposed it) and we wonder whether the community would have preferred the previous iteration, with more height and less density, over what appears to be the final version of the project. Which version would you rather see get built?