New feature: In The Zone

117 N. 11th Street / photo by Isaac Steinberg

July 7

Editor’s note: “In The Zone” will be a periodically updated listing of large or significant zoning changes, developments, building additions or demolitions to come before the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Items are listed in order of hearing date. If significant items are missing from this list, or if you have general news regarding the Zoning Board of Adjustment, please contact the reporter at

The following items are on the agenda for upcoming ZBA hearings:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008; 9:30 a.m.
Zoning and use variances are being sought for 117 N. 11th Street, directly across from the Pennsylvania Convention Center, on the east side of 11th between Arch and Cherry streets. The owner, United Investments Group, wants to build an 11-story hotel on the site with 63 units. The application includes a penthouse, meeting rooms on the 11th floor and a restaurant with a minimum of 30 seats. Attorney Glenn F. Hing represents the owner.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008; 9:30 a.m.
A use variance permit for a “penal correctional institution” for females at 2900 N. 17th Street is on the agenda, with a maximum of 250 inmates on all four floors of an existing structure. Lawyer Deborah Cianfrani is representing the owner, Philadelphia Suburban Development Corp. The site is in North Philadelphia, between Lehigh and Allegheny avenues, at W. Cambria Street.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008; noon
The owners of the 10-story building at 315-323 N. 12th Street (just north of Vine, between Pearl and Wood streets on the east side of the street) are seeking a use variance to build two more floors and convert the structure to 145 residential units. The limited partnership which owns the building is represented by Blank Rome’s William Kerr and Reed Lyons.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008; 9:30 a.m.



Photo by Isaac Steinberg

 A special permit and zoning variance for the partial demolition of 223-225 S. Sixth Street and the building of a 17-story addition is sought to create a “12-family dwelling and library” that would apparently alter two historic buildings.

The project would breach the wall of the adjacent structure, 219-221 S. Sixth Street, the home of The Athenæum of Philadelphia, a special collections library (known for its architecture and historic design collections) founded in 1814. It is an historic Italianate Revival brownstone built in 1845.

A “unity of use” agreement will be filed. The buildings are on Washington Square, on the east side of Sixth, near St. James Street, between Walnut and Spruce – a half block from Independence Square.

The building to be partially demolished, at 223 S. Sixth, is a three-story, red-brick Colonial Revival mansion wedged between the Athenæum and the J.B. Lippincott building (another striking Italianate building, erected in 1900 as headquarters for the publishing giant, now slated for condominiums).

According to the Independence Hall Association, 223 S. Sixth was built by Mayor Richardson Dilworth and his wife Ann in 1957, and designed by prominent architect G. Edwin Brumbaugh. The IHA’s Web site,, says Brumbaugh “also restored Washington Square in the mid-1950s. The mansion was built to show the first family’s commitment to the revitalization of Society Hill, then a run-down part of the city. It proved an inspiration to other ‘pioneers’ who followed into the community.”

Owners John J. Turchi, Jr. and Mary Elizabeth Turchi are represented by attorney Neil Sklaroff.

– Thomas J. Walsh

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