So we were a little confused when we saw that there was a proposal for 71 new apartments at the northeast corner of 8th & Thompson. In a vacuum, this might seem like the logical next step in the progression of development in South Kensington. We've already covered several projects on 6th Street, and some additional projects on 7th Street, so why wouldn't it make sense for the development to spread to 8th Street? Let us count the ways.
One major issue is the viaduct running over 9th Street. Between the sheer wall and the noise from the trains, the adjacent blocks are certainly less desirable. But the viaduct hasn't stopped other projects to the north, closer to Temple, like Paseo Verde. And we'd say that the El is far worse in terms of noise, and parts of Front Street are booming. So maybe the viaduct isn't such a big deal after all.
The presence of the Girard Medical Center across the street would seem to be another reason that market rate developers would stay away from this location. This complex provides incredibly important services to the community, including basic clinical services, psychiatric services, outpatient mental health services, outpatient drug and alcohol services, and dialysis. The methadone clinic at 8th & Girard, as you might assume, is associated with Girard Medical Center. Also, the building on the southeast corner of 8th & Thompson, originally built as the Childrens Homeopathic Hospital (it must have some cool history but we couldn't find much), houses an outpatient drug and alcohol residential program. The Girard Medical Center serves an oft forgotten segment of the population and as we said before, this place is incredibly important for a number of people. Still, its presence would likely discourage just about any market rate developer.
With market rate development seeming very unlikely, we'd guess that isn't actually what's happening here. Since the property has been used as a parking lot by the Girard Medical Center for years and public record indicates it's still owned by them, it's quite possible that this project is an expansion for their residential program. We did some research and can't find any info about this online, but even so that seems like the most likely situation here. If anyone was at the ZBA earlier this week when the project got approved, perhaps you can shed some additional light on the subject?
Update: According to a commenter, this will be an affordable housing development from Project HOME.