We were munching on some delicious wood fired goodness at Nomad Pizza this week and noticed one of those fire orange zoning stickers afixed to the outside of a warehouse directly across tiny Kater Street (and also across 7th Street from Good King Tavern). It turns out that a developer has plans to demolish the warehouse in favor of a new three-story building with a roof deck.
Four apartments with a yet-to-be-announced retail tenant on the ground floor would replace the warehouse. Naked Philly reports that the developers have already met with the Bella Vista Neighbors Association and needed the zoning variance because “the project calls for 100% lot coverage, same as the building the developers want to tear down.” It looks like the ZBA approved the application on June 23.
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Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk | Photograph by Laura Kicey
Want to see your majestic Schuylkill River Trail crowned as the top Urban Trail in the nation? You better spread the word about USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice poll. Voting runs through 11:59 a.m. on July 20 and our beloved SRT is up against some pretty impressive competition, including San Antonio’s River Walk and Mission Trail, New York City’s Manhattan Waterfront Gateway, Washington’s Mount Vernon Trail and 16 other city trails. Readers can cast one vote per day.
The Schuylkill River Trail is currently slotted in the second spot, hot on the heels of MKT Nature and Fitness Trail in Columbia, Missouri. The trail has already garnered some national attention this year when The New York Times named it as one of the top attractions in the city when it listed Philadelphia as the third place to visit in the world in 2015. Let’s make this happen!
• Vote for Your Favorite Urban Trail! [USA Today]
Efforts to make Philadelphia greener continue. Currently, for example, having LEED Gold and Platinum certification allows builders within certain zoning districts to increase their height and floor area. Now, those with LEED Silver certification might receive similar zoning bonuses.
Earlier this month, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced a bill, co-sponsored by Councilman Mark Squilla, that would “provide floor area and height zoning bonuses for developers who meet Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification,” according to a press release.
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The real estate rumor mill – probably the best kind there is – just put out a most delectable piece of hearsay. PMC Property Group, the apartment developer whose Old City project is being reviewed by the city’s Architectural Committee today, is “reportedly eyeing two big Center City real estate plays,” according to Natalie Kostelni at the Philadelphia Business Journal.
The “plays” in question? Potentially, acquiring the massive River City site and One Franklin Plaza, each of which could go for something like $30 million and $40 million, respectively.
If true, between the two it looks like River City would be the real game-changer. Kostelni says the site, which consists of five parcels spread out over seven acres, “could accommodate up to 2.5 million square feet of new development.” Here’s a visual of the L-shaped property on Hidden City Daily. (It takes up “60 N. 23rd St.. and 2301, 2201, 2101 and 2001 JFK Blvd.” if you were wondering.)
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Might this be the push builders need to get their green on when it comes to residential projects? Last week, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced the “Residential Green Roof Zoning Bonus,” a bill aiming to encourage the inclusion of green roofs in Philadelphia by allowing residential developers to build more on a smaller plot of land.
This bill, a spokesperson from the Councilwoman’s office tells us, “would drop the minimum lot size requirement to 800 square feet in two zoning districts, RM-1 and RSA-5, where an approved green roof is constructed” if passed.
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As mentioned earlier this morning, PMC Property Group’s proposed 10-story building in Old City isn’t the only big project the city’s Architectural Committee will be reviewing tomorrow. There are several more to be sure, but the only other one with this much–perhaps more–power to tweak the fabric of a neighborhood is Dranoff Properties’ planned Royal Theater redevelopment, which would see everything but the building’s façade razed to make way for a mixed-use development with luxury housing and below-grade parking.
According to Hidden City’s Michael Bixler, the latest plan for the historic structure involves 40 luxury residential units, below-grade garage with 20 parking spaces, and 7,000 square feet of commercial space. Presenting before the Committee will be Dranoff Properties and Universal Community Homes, the latter of who Bixler reports will also go before the Committee of Financial Hardship on June 30th to try to “circumvent the legal protections of the local [historical] register.”
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Top: View of site from Arch St; Bottom: View of site from south end of Little Boys Court| Images via Google Street View
UPDATE: A request to the Philadelphia Historical Commission for an image of the proposed building at 218 Arch Street was answered several hours after this post was published. The rendering can be viewed below.
Among the projects the city’s Architecture Committee is set to hear tomorrow, PMC Property Group’s proposed 10-story mixed-use building in Old City is one of the big ones. Plans include ground-level retail along Arch, two stories of underground parking, and “five or six stories of apartments” with more stories rising in stages the farther back it goes.
However, the Inquirer’s Jacob Adelman reports committee staffers have already expressed a desire for the project to “be scrapped.” Dead on arrival? Not quite. As Adelman notes, the committee “makes non binding recommendations to the full commission” (emphasis ours).
Set on a parking lot at 218 Arch Street (and extending all the way to 226), the intended $28.5 million development would fall on Little Boy’s Court, a small passage said to be “the city’s last remaining cobblestone lane” and a point on which officials noted developers had not voiced significant information regarding its restoration, though their plans do call for it to be included in the development in relation to a courtyard.
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Sigh. Does this photo bring on a rush of old summer memories for you too? Regardless, we felt it was a neat capture of South Philadelphia in the days burning toward the summer solstice, which, while we’re on the subject…come on. It’s not technically summer yet, but we know.
It’s barged it’s way into our late spring barbecue and taken over the grill without permission. Yeah, we definitely know.
So, Philly, how are you handling the heat? In a room with the air-conditioner on blast? Lounging by your neighborhood pool? Or are you just facing it head-on and with plans to celebrate its “official” return?” Include the #phillyscape hashtag to your photos showing us how you keep cool in the city!
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Following City Council’s approval of six ordinances and one resolution regarding the Gallery makeover yesterday, Mayor Nutter went on to sign off on the legislation, essentially pushing the mall’s redevelopment closer to reality than before. With the $325 million project clearing all the city’s hoops, the long-awaited redevelopment is officially a go.
PREIT CEO Joseph Coradino called the day “a defining [one] for PREIT and retail in Philadelphia, as the transformation of the Gallery, an effort 12 years in the making, has taken a major step forward,” according to PR Newswire.
Part of the legislation that went through was a $55.0 million Tax Increment Financing deal, which the Inquirer’s Jeff Gammage reports backers consider fair since the city “failed to make required maintenance and improvement payments to the mall and because the investment will bring new retail properties, jobs, and revenue to the city.”
Demolition looks to be starting in August, with the Gallery set to close its doors in two phases. Construction is set to last for two years. A grand opening is expected in 2017.
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Canno Architecture + Design | Renderings courtesy of Paul Mirabello
Despite making some compromises to make his proposed mixed-use apartment complex across from Pat’s King of Steaks as appetizing to neighbors as possible, developer Paul Mirabello was on the losing end of the Zoning Board’s decision on Wednesday: they unanimously voted in favor of denying a zoning variance that would have allowed the project to move forward, reports the Inquirer’s Maria Panaritis.
What will happen with the vacant lot now that Mirabello’s plan has been removed from the table? For the moment, residents who opposed the development are just reveling in their win:
“I’m super-excited,” said Robert Stewart, 35, among a handful of residents who pleaded during the two-hour meeting to allow only single-family homes on the large lot at Ninth and Wharton Streets. “I feel like my voice actually mattered.”
“It made me feel better to see there’s still some justice in the city of Philadelphia,” [Gil] Lettieri said. “The Zoning Board of Adjustment did that for me today.”
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