Okay, show of hands, who remembers Wurst House Pizzeria, the awfully named place at 43rd & Baltimore that was better known for its 40s than for its pizza? Perhaps more people recall when new owners came in about a decade ago and "rebranded" the place as Best House Pizzeria despite the fact that there was very little about it that was even mediocre? Surely most of you know that Best House Pizza closed a couple years ago and was eventually replaced by Clarkville, a gastropubby pizza place from the folks that own Local 44. And if you've never been to Clarkville or Local 44, what are you waiting for?
The reason we bring Clarkville to your attention today is not to provide you with suggestions for a place to go after work, but because of a zoning notice posted on the building and some construction activity next door. Our first suspicion was that Clarkville was expanding, but the MPN Realty sign next door would seem to suggest otherwise. Looking at the zoning notice, we don't really learn much, except that the owner of the properties is looking to combine them into one and maintain residential use on the 2nd and 3rd floor of 4303 Baltimore Ave. and on the 3rd floor of the building on the corner. So… this is good news that a new commercial space could open up across from Clark Park. On the other hand, the project has been continued twice at the ZBA so perhaps it isn't a slam dunk that this will even happen.
Looking a few doors to the west, we see that 4311 Baltimore Ave. boasts another zoning notice. This is a pretty straightforward situation, in which the folks who bought the property last fall are looking to convert the building from a seven bedroom house into a three unit apartment building. We'd have to imagine these units will be marketed to students and given the prime location across the park and easy access to at least one sweet restaurant and an institution of a coffee shop, they'll rent out for a pretty penny. We don't know the local politics well enough to know whether the neighbors will support this effort, though we'd think they would as smaller units would seemingly attract fewer raging keggers.
Of course, all of these little zoning notices are cute when compared with the variance granted about a year and a half ago on the southeast corner of this intersection, for a mixed-use building with 132 units and ground floor retail. As work hasn't yet begun on that project, we wonder whether anyone has heard anything lately about 4224 Baltimore Ave.? We don't even live in the area, and we're pretty sick of looking at that vacant lot.