Morning Headlines: Saffron On Scannapieco’s Bok School Plans

"Results are not likely to come quickly."

The new project's homepage invokes the building's educational roots with a photo by Katrina Ohstrom.

The new project’s homepage invokes the building’s educational roots with a photo by Katrina Ohstrom.

Lindsey Scannapieco’s South Philadelphia project–the renovation and eventual conversion of the former Bok School into a thriving creative maker space for local entrepreneurs (more details here)–has residents rooting for the young developer in spite of project’s scale. And for good reason, according to Inga Saffron who weighed in on Scannapieco’s plans last week.

For one thing, Saffron notes, Scannapieco is coming at the shuttered school with a “fresh eye and offbeat sensibility.” Indeed, the London School of Economics graduate was “running Scout Ltd.,” the company behind “Fridge Mountain” and other public art installations, last year. This background might be why Scannapieco envisions a lively outdoor community in addition to the interior creative hub:

She also wants to liven up the exterior of the formidable civic building. She is considering putting a farmers’ market on the grassy apron and a food co-op in the boys’ gym. She would love to land a restaurant and call it “Le Bok Fin,” just like the one that students used to run. There will probably be some apartments, too, although they are not the main focus.

More importantly, however, Scannapieco welcomes input from locals:

Besides her vision for Bok, Scannapieco stands out for her willingness to involve the neighborhood in the process. Even before the district picked her as the winning bidder, she met with residents to explain her concept. She provided an update last week and received an enthusiastic response – along with the usual pleas for more parking.

Will Scannapieco pull it off? Maybe.

Saffron points to the makers space at Globe Dye Works, which is “still only half-occupied,” and Mount Sinai Hospital, whose developer gave up converting the large building (much like Bok) into apartments,  as examples of proposed developments that didn’t exactly live up to their expectations.

In the end, Saffron says that “as compelling as her vision is, results are not likely to come quickly”  for Scannapieco.

See a gallery of the shuttered Bok School here.

Bringing Bok back [Changing Skyline]

In other news…

Piazza in Northern Liberties to get a dedicated parking garage [PlanPhilly]

Officials: Removal of rafters the cause of Bristol building collapse [Courier Times]

Plans for developing Chesterbrook site don’t include offices [PhillyDeals]

Northwood Civic continues to discuss illegally rented properties [Northeast Times]

Groundbreaking ceremony held in Upper Merion for the Daniel T. Kellett Memorial Skate Park [Times Herald]


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