Saturday, July 16, 2005

Development In The North End Makes Jump To Light Speed

Salemtown is moving and shaking. Property is selling and reselling. New real estate sale signs appear daily. Houses are getting built and renovated in weeks time. Each day brings new surprises and changes to the neighborhood.

The picture above is a lot being cleared of trees and brush at the corner of 6th Ave., North and Garfield. I don't know what's going on there and no one with whom I've spoken knows either. The owner is an entity called Moss Investment Partners who, according to the Planning Department's MetroMap site, bought the land back in 1987 for $10,000. The land is coded "Vacant Residential" and it is zoned "R6," which means that is meant for single or two family dwellings.

Let's hope that what Moss is planning to put there is consistent with either the clapboard character or the evolving modern townhouse aesthetic of current North End development. Garfield Place (pictured right) will sit right across the street from the Moss lot and it is an example of the modern aesthetic. The Garfield Place lot is zoned with the more restrictive "MUN" zoning, which is intended to "promote the preservation and adaptive reuse of existing buildings that contribute to the historical or architectural character of an area."

If infill on the Moss lot turns out to be more generic low-rent, low-quality institutional housing like the houses that sit on the properties immediately to its west (pictured left), we will be taking steps back from quality development. Once Garfield Place materializes, the property values of the houses that sit on the block between it and Werthan Lofts to the south should take off. If Moss has residential space of high quality built that is also attractive to buyers, it can ride the continuing wave of development.

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