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  #41  
Old Posted May 12, 2015, 1:04 AM
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From LSNA

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We previously reviewed this project and issued a letter of non opposition. The developer has the variances he needs from the ZBA. Upon further review, the developer agrees with our original suggestion that the stairwell should be on the East side of the project facing the new Family Court Building and the picture windows should face West up the Parkway. This would increase the FAR from 15.7 to 16 with no impact upon the near neighbors. They do not need any further variances from the ZBA but would appreciate a letter of non opposition from LSNA for Administrative Review of these proposed changes. Since these were essentially our recommendations originally, we should have no opposition to this and I will make a motion to that effect tonight.
https://docs.google.com/a/lsnaphilly...ZiMzY0ODRkYjg0
     
     
  #42  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2015, 1:20 AM
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  #43  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2015, 2:11 PM
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I kinda like that facade treatment. It's an interesting departure from the typical wall of blue glass. That being said, something about these renderings says, "I'm trying to flip this property," to me.
     
     
  #44  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2015, 2:38 PM
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Originally Posted by summersm343 View Post
That's a lot of "busy" going on with the skin of this building and some of the adjacent ones.
     
     
  #45  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 1:54 AM
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Well the parking lot has been paved over and has a "for rent" sign on it, so I think it's safe to say this proposal is dead. Along with two old townhouses for no-good-reason.
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  #46  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 3:30 AM
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Well the parking lot has been paved over and has a "for rent" sign on it, so I think it's safe to say this proposal is dead. Along with two old townhouses for no-good-reason.
That's a shame, especially given the interesting facade. Something with a larger footprint is probably a better idea for what is now one big empty lot, although I see from an earlier post that the City owns the adjoining property.
     
     
  #47  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 12:32 PM
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wow.
     
     
  #48  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 2:03 PM
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The developers should get a fine or some punishment for things like this.
     
     
  #49  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 2:32 PM
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The developers should get a fine or some punishment for things like this.
Jazzy rendering to flat surface would truly take "bait and switch" to a new low. I have no information on which to have an opinion about the developer's bona fides. It does seem like a slim building surrounded by asphalt would be a hard sell, but I'm sure they weren't planning on the attempted rental of a paved over postage stamp that will generate no income. It does seem reasonable (except in cases of hardship or danger) to expect a developer to refrain from demolishing a building until all pieces are in place for its replacement.
     
     
  #50  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 2:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Knight Hospitaller View Post
Jazzy rendering to flat surface would truly take "bait and switch" to a new low. I have no information on which to have an opinion about the developer's bona fides. It does seem like a slim building surrounded by asphalt would be a hard sell, but I'm sure they weren't planning on the attempted rental of a paved over postage stamp that will generate no income. It does seem reasonable (except in cases of hardship or danger) to expect a developer to refrain from demolishing a building until all pieces are in place for its replacement.
It’s typical. The same thing happened at 1900 Arch and although everyone hates that building, we are lucky that the developer managed to get it off the ground. That site had several 19th century buildings demo’d before they had a single approval in place for the new building. It’s really a disgrace. I’m not a hyper-preservationists and I’m ok with the sacrificing some older buildings for a superior project but someone needs to be forced to do that analysis and hold the developers responsible.
     
     
  #51  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 3:04 PM
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Saw this one coming.

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Originally Posted by Insoluble View Post
I kinda like that facade treatment. It's an interesting departure from the typical wall of blue glass. That being said, something about these renderings says, "I'm trying to flip this property," to me.
Now I'm getting nervous that they'll leave this as a surface lot forever. There needs to be some provision in the tax code for cases like this. Something along the lines of anyone buying a property then demoing the buildings on it within a certain time period gets taxed as though the buildings were still there until something new gets built. That would remove some of the incentive to demo the existing buildings and sit on the property forever.

On the other hand, residential development in Center City has been going gangbusters and there's still not enough supply to meet the demand, so we can hope that this will still get developed pretty soon.
     
     
  #52  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 3:11 PM
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Saw this one coming.



Now I'm getting nervous that they'll leave this as a surface lot forever. There needs to be some provision in the tax code for cases like this. Something along the lines of anyone buying a property then demoing the buildings on it within a certain time period gets taxed as though the buildings were still there until something new gets built. That would remove some of the incentive to demo the existing buildings and sit on the property forever.

On the other hand, residential development in Center City has been going gangbusters and there's still not enough supply to meet the demand, so we can hope that this will still get developed pretty soon.
Prescient. I have to think that the hot residential market will result in something that makes use of the entire vacant plot, if it can be assembled. Someone earlier posted that the City would sit on its lot so long as they occupy One Parkway. Is there a compelling reason why the City wouldn't want to cash in? The size of the lot would not appear to provide significant additional parking for One Parkway.
     
     
  #53  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 3:32 PM
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Originally Posted by PHL10 View Post
It’s typical. The same thing happened at 1900 Arch and although everyone hates that building, we are lucky that the developer managed to get it off the ground. That site had several 19th century buildings demo’d before they had a single approval in place for the new building. It’s really a disgrace. I’m not a hyper-preservationists and I’m ok with the sacrificing some older buildings for a superior project but someone needs to be forced to do that analysis and hold the developers responsible.
Maybe this has been a flipping proposition from the beginning:

Buy the site at a seemingly cheap price; get a schematic design; get the entitlements; clear the site; flip for a nice profit.

Demo-ing the houses would be necessary under such a scenario.

But maybe nobody really likes this site at whatever price they want: long and skinny with only a narrow north facing street frontage for unobstructed views, other windows boxed in at close quarters by lifeless government monoliths housing a concentration of welfare services.

Maybe that's not the ideal setting for a luxury residential tower. Maybe it's better suited to a small office building or hotel.

In any event, though I am generally very much of preservation advocate, I don't think the loss of those little houses is any kind of big deal. It was an ugly block even with the houses. The site is definitely ill-suited to single family housing use. It's best for the site to be ready for a new development if and when the opportunity arises in my opinion.

Last edited by Cro Burnham; Aug 19, 2015 at 4:17 PM.
     
     
  #54  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 4:15 PM
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Is there a compelling reason why the City wouldn't want to cash in? The size of the lot would not appear to provide significant additional parking for One Parkway.
You know, for all the lip service the City govt gives to "going green", it is addicted to keeping parking and other unnecessary and inappropriate conveniences for select employees with perks. Such hypocrites.

The City could make a killing unloading this and many other surface lots scattered throughout Center City, but this would inconvenience various department directors, judges, politicians, aides, etc., who get City cars and free Center City spots.

So while they go on and on advocating bike and transit usage, they smugly retain their legacy auto-centric free car privileges at our expense, both financially and in terms of cost to the streetscape.

This can basically be explained by the fact that our municipal executives and politicians, with few exceptions, have not an urbanist, but rather a proto-suburbanist mentality.

Most come from largely car-oriented outlying neighborhoods like the far Northeast, Chestnut Hill, Roxborough, Mt. Airy, Overbrook. I'll bet few of the higher level City workers from those neighborhoods take the train if they can have a free City car and spot.

But paradoxically, those who come from more typical inner city row house neighborhoods probably hold strongest to the suburban car-oriented ideal. Many (I'd say a large majority) of people from old school inner city neighborhoods, like generations before them, ultimately pine for greener pastures, lawns, driveways, peace and quiet of the 'burbs. Having a car (especially having a free City car), even if you live near the el, subway, trolley, or bus, is a slice of aspirational proto-suburban luxury not to be surrendered lightly.

These are the vast majority of people - not "Center City" types - who who work for City government, so it's no shock they cling to their free car and free parking perks. They are not remotely interested in bourgeois urbanistic notions of consistent streetwalls and lively downtown streetscapes. Most City workers view Center City as a work place to escape from at the end of the workday, preferably in the comfort of a private vehicle. Most have no interest in Center City as a neighborhood or as a cohesive architectural setting.

The "Greater Center City" urbanist mentality that most on this board have is very poorly represented in Philadelphia City Government, because most people who have the mentality don't work for City government.

So I think that shitty lot at 16th & Cherry will be with us until our "Greater Center City" urbanist mentality gains a lot more political clout in this town. That could be many years from now. I think this partly explains why Philly often seems urbanistically so far behind equivalent but more design-progressive cities like Boston, Seattle, SF, etc.

Maybe Kenney will surprise us with some progressive actions in this regard, but I doubt he'll want to rock the boat that much. And make no mistake, taking car and parking perks from high-level City employees would seriously rock the boat, at least from most politicians' perspectives.
     
     
  #55  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 4:40 PM
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Personally, I think the demolition of this handsome, antibellum structure was a disgrace.
     
     
  #56  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 4:50 PM
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Originally Posted by techchallenger View Post
Personally, I think the demolition of this handsome, antibellum structure was a disgrace.
Hmm. That isn't bad looking. I guess I never really noticed it. Rund down, but definitely salvageable.

A better view:


http://x.lnimg.com/photo/poster_768/...2e9c6bd70f.jpg
     
     
  #57  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 5:19 PM
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Originally Posted by techchallenger View Post


Personally, I think the demolition of this handsome, antibellum structure was a disgrace.
Agreed. I don't think most would argue that these had to be preserved at all costs, IF the right project came along. However, tearing them down on spec was a short-sighted act of vandalism. They could've been cleaned up and rented to small business in the meantime (not unlike what Brandywine is doing at 21st and Market). Without the addition of the city lot, I don't see how this unattractive site is a "quick flip" when reduced to a small patch of asphalt. Even Rappaport knew enough to be a slum landlord with rental income when sitting on a property for an extended period. He only tore stuff down if it could no longer remain standing (maybe not even then).
     
     
  #58  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 5:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Cro Burnham View Post
You know, for all the lip service the City govt gives to "going green", it is addicted to keeping parking and other unnecessary and inappropriate conveniences for select employees with perks. Such hypocrites.
That thought definitely occurred to me, but there's been some precedent for relocating city offices (if not parking) to accommodate development. I know that city employees jealously guard their perquisites, but the small size of this lot had me wondering if there were enough "reserved parkers" with the clout to make a difference. It's not like they couldn't reserve a few spots for them at the new Interpark lot under Love Park. Maybe they're just waiting for the renovations on that to take place.
     
     
  #59  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 5:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Cro Burnham View Post

But paradoxically, those who come from more typical inner city row house neighborhoods probably hold strongest to the suburban car-oriented ideal. Many (I'd say a large majority) of people from old school inner city neighborhoods, like generations before them, ultimately pine for greener pastures, lawns, driveways, peace and quiet of the 'burbs. Having a car (especially having a free City car), even if you live near the el, subway, trolley, or bus, is a slice of aspirational proto-suburban luxury not to be surrendered lightly.
Well Put. My late grandfather was from an old rowhouse neighborhood and moved the family to the Northeast in the late 1950’s. When he was getting pretty old and barely able to drive, he would still take his car to pick up the paper even though the store was literally at the end of the block and saved him no physical effort (getting in and out of the car was tough for him). At the suggestion that it would be safer and easier for him to walk, he said something along the lines of “I worked my whole life so I wouldn’t need to walk anywhere.” For the younger generations including myself, being able to walk to amenities is now considered the luxury.
     
     
  #60  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2015, 6:06 PM
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Well Put. My late grandfather was from an old rowhouse neighborhood and moved the family to the Northeast in the late 1950’s. When he was getting pretty old and barely able to drive, he would still take his car to pick up the paper even though the store was literally at the end of the block and saved him no physical effort (getting in and out of the car was tough for him). At the suggestion that it would be safer and easier for him to walk, he said something along the lines of “I worked my whole life so I wouldn’t need to walk anywhere.”
That's an amazing story. Pretty much captures the Philadelphia blue collar mentality.
     
     
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