Over three years ago, we made our first visit to the 4000 block of Baring Street. Back then, developers were building the first wave of student housing on this block, and the tide of new construction has continued pretty much unabated ever since. As we speak (er, type) there are several projects ongoing within a stone's throw of this block, some of which we'll be covering in the near future. But today we wanted to direct our attention to a building we noticed three long summers ago, just north of Baring Street.
404-08 N. 40th St. stood in strong contrast to the new construction around the corner. What looked like it could have once been a nice building had fallen into disrepair and vacancy. The front porch looked like a cinderblock wall covered in green stucco. The masonry on the facade looked to be disrepair, and the cornice was crumbling. While there's no graffitti apparent in the photo above, we definitely spotted some at our first visit.
The 9,000 sqft building, after sitting derelict for years, was finally purchased by developers at the end of last year. When we passed by the other day, we discovered a building that's undergoing serious renovation. The porch, once green and imposing, as been totally rebuilt or restored, with metal railing opening up the porch to the street. The porches on the second floor have been converted into indoor space, either increasing the size of the existing units or allowing for the creation of additional apartments. Unfortunately the cornice still looks bad, but let's assume that the renovation effort will eventually reach the top of the building.
We're a little bummed to see stucco cover the brickwork on the facade and we're likewise saddened that the second floor outdoor space has been eliminated. Despite these issues, it's great to see this building is coming back to active use after many years. This could be a sign of hope for some other fixer-uppers in the area.