Board approves supermarket and apartments behind Divine Lorraine

Philadelphia’s zoning board voted last week to approve plans for a major development at 1300 Fairmount Avenue, behind the Divine Lorraine.

The project, from RAL Development Services of New York, would transform a long vacant lot into a supermarket and nearly 500 apartments. The development is planned in multiple phases, beginning with a supermarket facing Ridge Avenue and a 19-story apartment tower. Later phases include another, smaller apartment tower, and a number of townhouses.

The project was announced earlier this year, shortly before PlanPhilly reported that developer Eric Blumenfeld had secured all the money he needed to renovate the Divine Lorraine, a focus of the Nutter administration for years. Alan Greenberger, the deputy mayor for economic development, described the RAL project and the Divine Lorraine renovation as symbiotic.

Last month, the 1300 Fairmount proposal went through Civic Design Review and got mostly positive comments. Though the site benefited from a rezoning bill introduced by Council President Darrell Clarke earlier this year, it still needed a special exception for above-ground parking.

Worth noting: There’s been virtually no controversy surrounding the height of this project, which stretches to 19 stories on the west end of the lot and then steps down to four stories along 13th Street. The neighboring buildings across 13th are three-story residential homes. West Poplar CDC and the 14th Ward Democratic Executive Committee, two Registered Community Organizations in the neighborhood, have both voiced support for the project.

Spencer Levine of RAL said the group is still in talks with potential supermarket tenants.

Note: A previous version of this article misstated the name of the developer. It is RAL Development Services, not RAL Associates. PlanPhilly regrets the error.

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