5th Street’s New Element
Apartment building will fill vacant lot on southern end of narrowed street.
A six-story apartment building will replace a vacant lot at the northeast corner of S. 5th St. and W. Mineral St.
A commercial space will be included at the base of the building, flush with the intersection and the wide S. 5th St. sidewalk. “The remake of 5th Street, honestly, that should be the recipe,” said New Land managing director Tim Gokhman in a 2020 interview about the project. The city widened the sidewalks from 7.5 to 18.5 feet in 2017 as part of a road diet that has triggered a wave of investment.
Much of the building’s W. Mineral St. frontage will be set back from the street, creating a courtyard space. The street, as part of a separate, city-initiated project, will also receive traffic calming enhancements.
It’s New Land’s third project in Walker’s Point. It first completed Trio, a three-building complex, at 1029 S. 1st St. in 2016. Then in 2020, the firm completed Quartet, fully leasing the 48-unit building at 1001 S. 2nd St. within two months of its opening.
As it has with the past projects, New Land sought out a mostly-vacant site. It merged the 17,500-square-foot grass lot at 934 S. 5th St. with a 3,500-square-foot site at 924 S. 5th St. created by the demolition of a substantially-altered, two-story building originally constructed in 1880. Another frequent New Land collaborator, Recyclean, completed the demolition work earlier this year. Gokhman said the firm recommended demolition over salvage-focused deconstruction because of the lack of materials to save following the repeated alterations.
The new building is targeted at reaching what Gohkman describes as an “aggressive price point” for new construction without a government subsidy. He said there is a large market of people that make enough that they don’t qualify for buildings subsidized by low-income housing tax credits, but can’t afford high-end new buildings. Developers have struggled to service that market segment due to a variety of factors including construction and land costs, zoning regulations and financing.
“I think we were able to do it at Quartet,” said the developer. “We were able to build an aesthetically and design-oriented building at an affordable price point.” One-bedroom units rent for between $1,200 to $1,300 per month, with two bedrooms starting at $1,500. The company will try to do it again at Element.
Another project is being built further north on S. 5th St. by the Mandel Group. The Taxco Apartments will replace three buildings with a half-block, six-story building. We recently profiled that project, for which demolition has begun.
Element is far from the only New Land project currently underway. It’s also developing Ascent, the tallest mass-timber building in the world, in the East Town neighborhood; and advancing plans for Nova, a 251-unit apartment building for the L-shaped site at 1237 N. Van Buren St.
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