First off, congrats to Barrie Schuster for her incredible historic presentation on Wells Avenue to the Historic Preservation Society this week....about 130 people showed up to learn about the history of Wells Avenue.
One of the many highlights of the meeting was the announcement that a local developer closed escrow on an abandoned and neglected laundry facility located just east of the roundabout on Wells Avenue, at 1695 South Wells. The building itself has amazing bones, brick exterior and is quite large, with a stunning art deco corner entrance. Check out a couple of photos below.
The plan is to convert the 60-year old building into 10 residences, an art gallery, and a cafe. Right now, the building is in a run down, weed-ridden state with broken glass and graffiti among other eyesores. So, you can imagine how excited our neighborhood is over this. It will add to the recent revitalization of Vesta Street with Valour Parlor, Holland Reno, and other recent additions.
The developer is Haberae Investments, who developed 8 On Center, SODO 4, and the the Firehouse Lofts. Haberae is an infill developer with an impressive list of microprojects, and I have a thing for infill developers who improve neighborhoods. For five years, they've attempted to secure this building, and now it's finally happened.
8OnCenter was the first mini-project along Center Street that started the trend there, then came along SODO 4, the demolition of some nasty homes across the street, then the GuiDenby building, Lime/lofts, and Brasserie St James under way. During 8OnCenter's construction phase, people predicted that the homeless would be peeing all over 8OnCenter's doorsteps because they had street access, the windows would always be broken etc. Surprise surprise, that's not the case! People predicted no one would live in the tiny SODO 4 homes, yet they are all accounted for. An 8OnCenter resident just applied for a sign permit to use their residence as a true live/work unit as well. Haberae's projects have had positive affects on the neighborhoods they are built in, regardless of how some turned out financially because of the crash....and that's all I care about.
The Wells Ave neighborhood is pumped up about this one, and Haberae will be going out of their way to preserve the historic character of this building, working with preservation experts like Barrie Schuster throughout the project's duration. And you can bet I'll be snapping progress photos!