Art Commission Okays Concept Plan for Proposed Apartment on Hamilton

Did the Rail Park plan just take a hit?

Photo via Google Street View.

Photo via Google Street View.

Yesterday, PlanPhilly’s Matt Golas reports, Cross Properties and architect Barton Partners found themselves before the Philadelphia Art Commission. In hand they had an updated plan for their $24 million project: a 120-unit apartment building at 2100 Hamilton, the site directly behind the Rodin Museum. It seems the tweaks they made to the development were a success as the commission gave them conceptual approval.

Last year, their presentation yielded little support from the commission who, Golas says, “quickly identified potential project killing problems” having to do with “cost and quality of construction and proximity” to the museum and Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Indeed, back in August, architecture critic Inga Saffron laid out the pros and cons of the development, which she believed could, on the one hand, help the thriving retail corridor on Hamilton Street, and on the other, require a lot of adjustments to make it work with the Rodin and proposed rail park that would replace the “jungly” rail bed behind the museum. From her summer review:

Two stories below street level, the trench also benefits from the perception of isolation. Walking its two-mile length, you experience the city at a distance, occasionally glimpsing snippets of the skyline above its massive stone walls. Once capped by the apartment building, the pit behind the Rodin would be reduced, at best, to a dim tunnel. At worst, the corridor would be cut into two useless pieces, rendering the park idea stillborn.

According to Golas, this last unanimous decision was given thanks to the architect changing the proposed building’s “volume and massing, orientation on the property and relationship to the Rodin Museum and parking.” (Parking will be underground.) However, Golas adds that it will be on top of the rail bed.

For all this, the planned building, which Cross Properties has aimed to attract those darned “millennials and empty nesters,” will still need to get further changes:

Before final approval will be considered, the commissioners made it clear there would be much detail work to be tackled (another meeting with the sub-committee was suggested). The commissioners also want to see material samples of the project at its next meeting, Feb. 4. The commissioners also urged the developers to reach out again to near neighbors, including the Philadelphia Art Museum and the Logan Square Neighborhood Association.

Rents are expected to start at about $2,000/month. The building would also include a restaurant.

Art Commission conceptually approves 2100 Hamilton [PlanPhilly]