Community group backs La Salle student-housing project

 Penn Area Neighborhood Association members voted overwhelmingly to support a zoning variance that will bring 49 rental units to a vacant lot in Olney. (Aaron Moselle/WHYY)

Penn Area Neighborhood Association members voted overwhelmingly to support a zoning variance that will bring 49 rental units to a vacant lot in Olney. (Aaron Moselle/WHYY)

A multimillion-dollar student-housing project near La Salle University is now one step closer to becoming a reality.

On Tuesday night, members of the Penn Area Neighborhood Association voted overwhelmingly to support a zoning variance that will bring 49 rental units to a vacant lot in Olney.

The apartment complex, a joint venture between Great Oak Capital and How Properties, needs a use variance so it can be zoned multi-family. The parcel at 545-9 E. Wister Ave. is currently zoned single-family.

What it’ll look like

The five-story complex consists of two joined buildings that ring a central courtyard that will feature a rain garden. Its two- and- three-bedroom apartments will include granite countertops and ceramic-tiled bathrooms.

The complex will also have a fitness center, two study lounges, a green roof and 24-hour security.

The $10 million project has La Salle University’s “blessing,” but is not being built for La Salle or exclusively for La Salle students, though they will likely fill the majority, if not all, of the complex’s units.

No ‘Animal House’ vibe

Concerns were raised about partying in and around the complex.

Pete Staz with Great Oak said, inside the building, that won’t be an issue.

“If the students misbehave, they’re out,” he said inside 431 E. Locust Ave., the site of the Mu Omega Chapter of Omega Psi Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Outside, Staz added that La Salle University’s police have agreed to patrol the complex if the project moves forward.

A ZBA hearing is scheduled for Dec. 3.

If approved, construction is expected to start next spring and last a little over a year. Students would start moving in during the summer of 2015.

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