Armory demolition underway; The Dolphin takes over sidewalk

After 127 years, the old armory building on South Broad Street is finally coming down.

A crane inside the building was pushing around a giant pile of debris Monday morning, and trucks were hauling it away through the back entrance on Juniper Street. According to city records, JPC Group is performing the demolition. Vincent Mancini, the architect of the 50-unit residential complex proposed for the site by developer Michael Carosella, said the demolition will likely be finished by November.

Carosella, who did not return a phone call from PlanPhilly on Monday, met with South Broad Street Neighbors Association last week, to present updated plans for the project.

Mancini, of Landmark Architects, said the project will now include around 1,300 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, a community meeting space, green roofs and porous pavement. The developer will be amending his zoning application prior to a hearing at the Zoning Board of Adjustment on Wednesday, September 11, at 2 p.m.

Peter Zutter, president of South Broad Street Neighbors Association, the local RCO, said the group plans to support zoning relief for the project. Much of last week’s meeting, Zutter said, was focused on the demolition of the armory, the first to go through a new process put in place after the deadly collapse of a building at 22nd and Market streets in June. At a City Council hearing following that collapse in July, experts presented a demolition case study using the armory as the subject.

Meanwhile, three blocks south of the armory, The Dolphin Tavern has constructed a vestibule entrance jutting several feet onto the sidewalk, drawing a violation from the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

The Dolphin was converted last year from a smoky dive bar into a nightclub with a fog machine by Avram Hornik of Four Corners Management, the team responsible for Morgan’s Pier, the Drinker’s bars, and the Boot & Saddle, set to open on South Broad Street in early September.

Zutter said he had spoken with Hornik and that he’d said he would tear the vestibule down by the end of the summer. He said that Hornik had not returned calls over the past month. Hornik did not return a call from PlanPhilly on Monday.

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