Turn back the clock just a handful of years and the corner of 11th & Brandywine was a fairly depressing place to find oneself. The southwest corner was the back of a gas station, the southeast and northwest corners were vacant and used for surface parking, and the northeast corner was a shuttered industrial building. But there was hope on the horizon. Said industrial building, formerly home to Independence Press, was listed for sale with plans to convert the building into 92 apartments.
At the time, we expressed just how big of a deal such a project would be for the burgeoning West Poplar neighborhood. And yeah, it took a few more years than we anticipated, but with the conversion completed last year into Independence Lofts, we stand by our assertion that the redevelopment of this industrial building is a key factor in the continued upward trajectory of this part of town. Not only does the outside of the building look awesome, but the apartments have those cool features that you get when you convert an old industrial building to residential use. Oh, and a relocated and expanded Institute doesn’t hurt either.
Such large projects are not really the norm in West Poplar, which has seen the majority of its development happen with smaller, lower density projects. More commonly, we’ve seen townhome and small multi-unit buildings like duplexes and triplexes appear on long vacant sites, and today we can show yet another example of such a project. For many years, the three lots at 519-23 N. 11th St. were vacant and they were used as a surface parking lot, as we mentioned above. We don’t exactly love those, as we’ve mentioned a million times, so we were quite pleased to see new buildings at this location when we passed by earlier today. Check ’em out.
Developers are currently building a trio of duplexes here, which feels like a great step up, in our estimation. We’ll be interested to see whether the units are offered as rentals or condos. Certainly, the building across the street has shown that new construction rentals have a market over here. That being said, the developers paid $775K for the three lots, so we’re not sure that anything other than condos would make financial sense. Either way, it’s a win for the area, and we hope it inspires a similar effort at the surface lot across the street.