Headlines: Dead on Arrival? Committee to Review New 10-Story Project in Old City

Plus: Partial building collapse in Ogontz; Pope Francis calls out urban planners, and other news.

Top: View of site from Arch St; Bottom: View of site from south end of Little Boys Court| Images via Google Street View

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.

Adelman writes the project’s design, done by Varenhorst Architects, the firm who designed PMC’s One Water Street, 1900 Arch, and 1924 Arch, is another point staffers have taken issue with:

Architecture committee staffers said the project, on the same block as the Betsy Ross House, is a bad fit for historic Old City. “The proposed building is incompatible with the historic district in height, massing, and scale,” the staffers said in their report to the committee.

In his submission to the owner, Adelman says architect Stephen Varenhorst wrote the project would “enhance and activate the streetscape of Arch Street and Little Boy’s Court.”

Below, a rendering of the proposed building.

Image courtesy of Jon Farnham

Image courtesy of Jon Farnham

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