Last summer, we visited the long-shuttered former Saint Francis Xavier convent at 2322 Green St., located around the corner from the Art Museum. At the time, we were excited to share the news that the building would be coming back into use, with developers planning to convert the property into eighteen residential units. According to permits at the time, the developers were also going to add some additional buildings to the site, ultimately creating 48 apartments in a by-right project. The building, though not designated historic, had an interesting look that added to the architectural diversity of the historically certified Spring Garden District.
We say that the building had an interesting look because the building has now been demolished. Plans change, people.
According to a Spring Garden Civic Association newsletter from November, people living near the property did not care for the plans for four-dozen new apartments. In response to this opposition, the developers, How Properties, scrapped their apartment plans and agreed to build ten townhomes instead. Three of the homes will front Pennsylvania Avenue and the other seven will front Green Street. A drive-aisle, providing rear-access parking for all of the homes, will pop out on Pennsylvania Avenue. The project got support from the Historical Commission late last year and approval from the ZBA a few months back. In the time since, the former convent has been leveled and it appears that construction will get moving very soon.
What do you think about this? Is the ten-home project preferable to the 48-apartment project? Are you on board with the fact that objections from near neighbors resulted in the demolition of an old building? Or was the developer doing the right thing by respecting the community's wishes?
We wish there could have been some compromise struck, perhaps creating a blended project with some homes for sale and a smaller number of apartments in the former convent. But we'd imagine that would have been impractical given the layout of the parcel. So unfortunately, it was probably a binary decision between one approach or the other. And at this point, post-demolition, there's only one way this thing can go.