A meeting set for tonight and another scheduled for March 8 will address the future of Broad Street and Washington Avenue.
Runners-up in the form of Bok School, Carl Dranoff’s Royal Theater on South Street, or anything happening along the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers can’t hold a candle to these dozen or so projects we’re going to be keeping our eyes on throughout 2016. Here’s a primer and perhaps a suggested way to check in with your civic to hear more and provide feedback.
12. 2010 Wharton Street
Back in August, we reported about the uproar OCF Realty developer Ori Feibush was facing as he proposed 22 town homes in Point Breeze that would replace an infrequently used, huge lumber warehouse zoned Industrial. With the Zoning Board of Appeals’ approval, despite vocal opposition in the neighborhood, there may be new construction houses priced at nearly a half-million dollars in a residential neighborhood crying out for a grocery store or any business that could provide near neighbors with employment. Next meeting: Point Breeze CDC general meeting 6 to 7 p.m. March 2, 1444 Point Breeze Ave.
11. Celeste Morello’s historical designation of Angelo Bruno’s house
Philly’s resident Catholic and Mob history buff keeps going with her nominations to the Philadelphia Historical Commission. Despite the blowback that came as a result of her last nominations (we wrote about her concern for St. Charles Borromeo, 902 S. 20th St., three months ago), Morello is pushing forward with an iffy property – Angelo Bruno’s longtime home at 934 Snyder Ave. She contends that the “Gentle Don”’s property, where he was gunned down in 1980, is significant in the way that investigating him led to widespread practices of organized crime investigation. A Historical Commission committee will entertain the notion in March.
10. The Frankford Chocolate Factory
This one is a biggie – the nearly 100,000 square foot property was purchased by a handful of investors in November. CBRE of Philadelphia, a commercial real estate services firm, plans to turn the plot at 21st Street and Washington Avenue into residential, commercial and office spaces. The 126-year-old would mark a big moment in Washington Avenue West’s potential, especially in converting massive industrial buildings.
9. The Live! Cordish Casino project
All signs point towards its completion. What it will look like? Who will get the jobs? And will the neighbors feel its impact and how? 900 Packer Ave. is the address, and it’d be a shock if it were completed by 2017, but it will likely open doors before ’18 is here.
8. Dickinson Grove
This one is a bit of a downer for Point Breeze residents with dogs. It’s a double-wide lot at 1441-43 Dickinson St., and now it’s got one of those bold orange zoning notice signs. It reads: “The application is to create one (1) Lot from two (2) existing Lots and for the erection of a new 3-Story structure with Roof Deck and Pilot House for use as Three (3) Condominium Units.” Does Newbold need more condos with roof decks? Next meeting: Public Zoning Meeting, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 8, at the Reed Street Presbyterian Apartments, 1401 S. 16th St.
7. Columbus Square, Lanier and Smith parks, Carpenter Green
They’re all funded and ready to go. It’s just great to see some investing in South Philly’s green spaces. Earlier this month, we reported that Columbus Square raised more than $3 million and mycolumbussquare.org is where updates can be found. Lanier, at 29th and Tasker streets, is set to get the Philadelphia Water stormwater management treatment with 2nd District Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and The Trust for Public Land’s (tpl.org) support. At the beginning of ’16, we reported on Connor Barwin’s contributions to West Passyunk’s Smith Playground, 2100 S. 24th St., which has already commenced a massive renovation. As has the South of South Carpenter Green at 17th and Carpenter streets.
6. Brush Factory apartments
This one’s slow going. We first wrote about Tony Rufu Jr.’s plans to convert the long-vacant LoMo factory into 164 “luxury” apartment rentals more than two years ago. Parking’s certainly been the battle cry to slow its progress. Next meeting: LoMo General Meeting, 11 a.m. to noon, March 12 (email email@example.com for more info).
5. Women’s Community Revitalization Project’s affordable housing at 1300 S. Capitol and 1400 S. Taylor streets
WCRP’s teaming up with Point Breeze partners Citizens Acting Together Can Help (CATCH) to build the Mamie Nichols Townhomes in two clusters. Architects Kramer+Marks have been contracted to design two-to-three-story town homes (1-3 bedrooms each) aimed to accommodate veterans and families. WCRP is to submit a full proposal to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency March 4 in Harrisburg.
4. Washington Avenue at 24th and 25th streets
These two seem related but only geographically. We reported last June on the 2401 Washington Ave. project that was approved by most with the exception of near neighbors, namely the North of Washington Avenue Coalition, led by president Madeline Shikomba. She filed to block it, as a parcel a little further east (at 16th and Washington) was similarly blocked by litigation. Then last week, developers proposed a six-story mixed-use overhaul of 25th and Washington with 79 apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail. Next meeting: SOSNA Board of Directors meeting, 7 to 9 p.m. March 30, at 1901 Christian St.
3. Mt. Sinai’s destruction and construction
The massive hospital, which closed in ’07, was purchased by Concordia Group for $6 million last fall and initiated its teardown in October. Upwards of 100 town homes will take the hulking building’s place but demo is going very slowly. Next meeting: look for it on facebook.com/pennsport.civic.
2. Bart Blatstein’s super-development off Columbus Boulevard
When we heard a “suburban” development on an urban plot, we got a little nervous. A mix of residential and retail has been introduced (and largely criticized) for the former casino plot at Columbus and Tasker: 650 residential units, a Wawa and an Aldi? Blatstein purchased the 16-acre parcel, for the second time, ’14 for $13 million.
1. Broad Street and Washington Avenue
It just keeps getting weirder. Initially, back in March ’14, things were much more modest and our cover story was met with great interest and intrigue. If you don’t know about his proposed 32-story tower with first- and fourth-floor amenities, over 1,000 residential units and a 620-spot parking garage, you should get to a Hawthorne Empowerment Coalition meeting. Next meeting: HEC meeting, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 or the General Meeting, 7:30 to 9 p.m. March 8, both at the Hawthorne Cultural Center, 1200 Carpenter St.
Contact Staff Writer Bill Chenevert at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 117.