Committee reviews projects on East Market and West Girard

On Tuesday, developers presented plans to the Civic Design Review committee for a mixed-use apartment and retail complex at the long-vacant corner of 27th Street and Girard Avenue.

The project, which was designed by JKR Partners and is being developed by MM Partners and American Development Company, will include 68 apartments and nearly 15,000 square feet of retail space along Girard Avenue. It will also include 10 townhomes along 27th Street. The townhomes will each have three bedrooms and a roof deck; the apartments are split up between one- and two-bedroom residences ranging from 600 square feet (for a “junior one bedroom”) to 1,140 square feet. The project also includes 50 parking spaces.

Earlier this year, Council President Darrell Clarke introduced a bill rezoning the property to commercial/mixed-use from a car-oriented commercial category. Under the new zoning, the project can proceed by right and needs no variances. The Civic Design Review Committee elected to complete the review process on Tuesday after an odd vote: three voted in favor of completing the process, and four didn’t vote at all.

The Committee, which was joined by representatives from the Fairmount Civic Association and Council President Clarke’s office, made a number of comments about the project. Among them:

  • The height of the ceilings in the retail space on Girard is currently planned at 12.5 feet; at 14 feet, the retail would line up with the rest of the commercial corridor.

  • Developers should consider adding on-street bike parking for the commercial space.

  • Between the stoops on the townhomes and the trees planned on the sidewalk, Committee members worried that the sidewalk will be too narrow at times.

Currently, the plans for the site include a drive-through area in the commercial space to service a potential bank or pharmacy. However, no tenants are signed up yet, and Committee members suggested removing the drive-through from the plans.

When the presentation was over, Committee member Anne Fadullon, a developer, made a motion to complete the design review process. (The Committee’s review is advisory, but it can elect to have developers present their projects a second time in response to CDR comments.) After Fadullon’s motion, there was a long pause. Then there was a feeble seconding of the motion from CDR member Michael Johns. Committee member Dan Garofalo, acting as chair in Nancy Rogo-Trainer’s absence, joined Fadullon and Johns in voting to complete the review. The rest of the committee stayed silent.

Also on Tuesday, the CDR Committee elected to complete the review for the mixed-use project at 11th and Market streets which broke ground last week. See renderings and site plans for that project here. Later this month, the City Planning Commission will review the digital advertising components of that project.

Civic Design Review, Oct. 7, 2014
Civic Design Review, Oct. 7, 2014

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