It was just a couple of months ago that we last visited the 1900 block of Cecil B. Moore Ave., telling you about plans for 24 units on a large vacant lot. That project, at 1913-1919 Cecil B. Moore Ave., got approval from the ZBA shortly after and construction should be getting started sometime soon. We’re generally fine with this, as it’s almost always good when a vacant lot bites the dust.
Our concern at the time, which remains with us still, was that the design of the new student housing project would be, uh, utilitarian, like so much of the other new construction we’ve seen around this area over the last number of years. And that (valid) concern remains. The situation is exacerbated on this block by a number of really attractive old buildings, including the cinema turned church in the image above. Unfortunately, as we’ve covered before, developers built some regrettable stucco boxes next door to that building a few years back which stand among our least favorite buildings in town.
History could soon be repeating itself down the block, closer to 20th Street. Developers are looking to build a seven unit building at 1935 Cecil B. Moore Ave., a property that has been sitting empty for about a decade. We don’t know what the ZBA will say on this one, as the property is zoned for commercial use and less density. Design elements don’t have much to do with zoning, but we’d strongly endorse any and all variance requests for this property with the proviso that the developers make an effort to pay some tribute to the building that stood here previously. Clearly, that didn’t happen with the building next door.
Fortunately, the building at 1923-29 Cecil B. Moore Ave. has survived over the years, even though its upper stories remain boarded up.
As we’ve said before (about this very building), they just don’t build ’em like this anymore and we really hope somebody comes forward in the near future to renovate the building and convert the upper floors into apartments. What a shame it would be to see this building meet the same fate that its neighbors met a decade ago.