ZBA Approves Techadelphia Variance

The board especially liked the job-creation component of the live/work building in South Kensington.

1525 North American Street

The ZBA’s blessing clears the way for work to start on this “jobs factory” with apartments in South Kensington. Rendering | Harman Deutsch Architecture

The Zoning Board of Adjustment voted unanimously this week to approve the zoning variance needed to allow the Techadelphia mixed-use project to proceed.

The planned development in South Kensington consists of a row of townhomes facing Philip Street and a five-story building on American Street with co-working space on the street floor and basement and four floors of apartments above. The apartment rents will cover the cost of offering free co-working space for Philly-based tech entrepreneurs and 40 scholarships for youth in nearby neighborhood schools.

“The jobs component was the part they liked best,” Frankel Management Company CEO Sean Frankel, the project’s spark plug and developer, said about the ZBA’s reaction to the proposal.

The variance is necessary because the lot at 1525 N. American St. where the buildings will rise is zoned industrial.

Three members of City Council voiced their support for the project to the ZBA as well: Council President Darrell Clarke (D-5th District), Maria Quiñones-Sánchez (D-7th District) and Allan Domb (D-at large), who called the board after reading our earlier story on the development, Frankel said.

With the variance, Frankel and his construction partners at Streamline Solutions can get to work on the facility. “We’re cutting checks already,” he said.

Frankel hopes to break ground on the project in June or July. It will take about two years from that point to complete it.

Follow Sandy Smith on Twitter.