Council Committee Approves Zoning Changes For Royal Theater Redevelopment

Carl Dranoff's plans forge ahead.

Hopefully, that annoying Lorde song isn’t playing in your head now like it is in mine, but big news regarding the Royal Theater’s redevelopment was reported by CBS Philly a little bit ago: A City Council committee has approved requested zoning changes that would allow developer Carl Dranoff to demolish the building (but keep its exterior) and replace it with a mixed-use building.

Peter Kelsen, Dranoff’s attorney, was at the hearing and had this to say:

“The Royal Theater development promises to be a game-changing development on South Street,” Kelsen said.  “We will create an adaptive reuse of this historic property, which will reinvigorate this important block of South Street.”

Meanwhile, some locals expressed disappointment because of the potential height and parking issues the Royal’s proposed replacement would create: 

Michael Gross, of the group Friends of Kater Street, voiced frustration with what he said is the developer’s unwillingness to address the height issue and other concerns, such as the anticipated impact on parking.

“Dranoff’s strategy appears to be a ‘run-out-the-clock’ strategy and make no concessions to the near neighbors,” Gross told the lawmakers.  “In light of the significant zoning changes being sought, Dranoff is still unwilling to address our clearly state concerns.”

Gross called the zoning changes before the committee “improper spot zoning.”   The committee, though, approved the zoning changes anyway, and a final vote is expected by the full Council next week.

The full Council is set to hold a final vote next week.

Reuse Plan For Historic Royal Theater, On South Street, Moves Forward [CBS Philly]