Discussing new development in Roxborough

Roxborough residents gathered on Thursday night at the Leverington Presbyterian Church on Ridge Avenue to hear about three proposed development plans in the area.

The projects include the rehabilitation of a church for residential use, the tearing down of a one-unit complex for a three-unit residence and a plan to build a new row home on Monastery Avenue.

The proposals were met with mixed emotions from the crowd at this month’s Central Roxborough Civic Association meeting. The most commonly raised concerns were about parking and whether the neighborhood was becoming too dense and overdeveloped.

Andy Thomas, who will be rehabilitating the church on the corner of Monastery Ave. and Manayunk Ave, spoke at the meeting to reassure residents that although the church will become a complex for homes and apartments, he will not raze the existing structure.

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“I could make more money tearing it down, but it’s a beautiful building, it should stay there,” Thomas told the 20-member crowd.

“The bell tower will be lit up, and we’re keeping the bell,” he said. Many members, including Celeste Hardester, the group’s recording secretary, approached Thomas after the meeting to thank him for preserving the exterior shape of the church.

The renovations will yield five new homes and eight apartments, which will be small in size to prevent any from becoming a “party house” according to Thomas. Reported problems with young Roxborough renters from local colleges have become a common topic of discussion in the group, with much of their last meeting in January dedicated to the new influx of sometimes disrespectful neighbors.

He added that there will be underground parking for 14 cars, and that the project is set to begin within 45 days and will be completed within the year.

Jerry Logue presented his plan to tear down the building at 213 Roxborough Ave. and build three new residences in place of the one. The building’s owner Maryellen Wagner was in attendance and informed her neighbors that she plans to live in one of the new homes. 

Neighbors were concerned with the capacity for three units where there currently is just one. Molly Clark Davis said that it routinely takes her an hour to find parking on her street, and that the new homes “won’t fit.”

“We’re compressed,” she adds. 

Dan Borkson and Steve Rothberg requested a variance to build a row house at 514 Monastery Ave., but residents were concerned that the rendering of the proposed façade was unattractive and looked like a small apartment building. They agreed to provide a new sketch of their proposal to residents that will soon be available on the CRCA website. 

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