Bills would allow new mixed-use development on Schuylkill waterfront in Center City

A proposal is in place to adjust the zoning regulations for two properties at 23rd and Arch streets to make way for River Walk, a mixed-use apartment complex of unknown dimensions.

The properties in question span the length of 23rd Street between Cherry Street and JFK Boulevard, and they are bounded on the west side by the Schuylkill River Trail. Both are currently used together as a surface parking lot; an elevated SEPTA railway line cuts the site in two.

The River Walk development was first reported by the City Paper.

The property facing JFK Boulevard is currently zoned CMX-5, the highest-density commercial zoning category in the city, while the site that faces Cherry Street is zoned RMX-3, a medium-density residential mixed-use classification. The southern edge of the property is directly across Cherry Street from the Rivers Edge condominiums.

Last week, Council President Darrell Clarke introduced two bills that would make changes to the zoning requirements on the site. The first bill extends the portion of the property zoned CMX-5 about 60 feet north, to make a “viable footprint” for the project. This move would increase the portion of the property that allows denser development.

The other bill adjusts the Center City zoning overlay by setting a height limit of 500 feet for the portion of the site in between JFK Boulevard and the SEPTA railway line. It sets a 300-foot height limit for the portion of the property between the SEPTA line and Cherry Street. It also allows retail uses on the property to be located above the ground floor, above residential uses.

A spokeswoman for Council President Clarke confirmed that the bills are targeted at the River Walk project. Representatives of the developer, NP-International, did not return a phone call Monday morning. Members of Logan Square Neighborhood Association did not immediately respond to an email message.

The two properties are currently owned by New York-based Garrison Investment Group, and they are worth a combined $23 million, according to the Office of Property Assessment.

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