The architect and attorney for a for-rent apartment complex slated to be built at 300 Christian St. appeared in front of Queen Village residents at last Wednesday night’s Queen Village Neighbors Association meeting at 416 Gaskill St. The property is owned by Salter Mews LP.
The developer is seeking neighborhood approval for variances on the project, which, as plans currently stand, is slated to be a 33-unit apartment building that’s five stories high. The location is zoned RSA-5, which allows only for single family homes. The developer is also seeking variances for height (the developer’s plans call for the building to be 54 feet high, while zoning allows for a maximum of only 38 feet) and a curb cut (the proposed curb cut is 22 feet, while the maximum is 20 feet).
The first and only other time this project was presented to the community back in December, developers had planned for a building that was 40 dwelling units and had a 26.2-foot. curb cut, but those numbers had been reduced to 33 dwelling units and 22 feet, respectively, in response to residents’ requests.
Plans for the lot include a 20-space parking garage on the ground floor of the complex and three stories of 11 units each will be on top of the parking lot, bringing the building to 44-feet tall. There will be an extra 10 feet added to the top of the building for an elevator shaft and stairs that lead to the roof of the building.
“But those aren’t going to be seen from the street,” said the project’s zoning attorney, Brett Peanasky. “From the street, this will appear as a four-story, 44-foot-tall building.”
Renderings of the proposed property show a sleek, industrial/modern look, which many residents took issue with.
“The design is rather garish for a neighborhood that’s all brick,” said Queen Village resident David O’Donnell. “The other buildings you pointed out that are maybe as high or higher are all brick and it just seems jolting when you look at…the entire neighborhood – even the housing to your west we planned manym many years ago to fit into the community with the brick and calm design.”
Another Queen Village resident, Libby Goodman, echoed O’Donnell’s remarks.
“It gives it kind of an industrial look, and there are neighborhoods in Philadelphia that do have lots of little small old factories and such. Queen Village is not one of them. This really does not fit into the character of the neighborhood.”
Other residents took issue with the lack of parking and the company’s plans to rent the properties instead of sell them.
QVNA Zoning Board chairman Peter Piven requested the development team come back for another meeting with residents to take into consideration their qualms with the project before a community vote. He also asked the team to dedicate spaces in the garage for shared car use.