MNC clears way for Ripka St. property to be converted into apartments

With no opposition expressed from community representatives, developers will transform a Manayunk residence into a multiple unit dwelling later this year.

As described by developer and Manayunk resident Tim Kovacs, the three-story property on the 100 block of Ripka St. will be converted into three one-bedroom apartments, with each occupying a floor of the 1800 square-foot building that once served as a combination corner store and residence.

The one-bedroom apartments are expected to rent for $800 to $1,200 a month, each with rear patios or decks along with parking in nearby garages. In addition, efforts will be made to keep enhancements to the building historically appropriate.

“We’re not going to come in and destroy the house,” he said. “We want to keep it as much the way it is as we can.”

A familiar concern 

According to Kovacs, the mixed-use property once belonged to a family who worked the store and resided in the first two levels. The third floor was an apartment occupied by a relative. 

Given the bedroom arrangements and the price point, Kovacs said that he hopes to avoid the headaches associated with student renters and will instead seek to appeal to a clientele of young professionals.

Despite a limited number of expected tenants, residents voiced concerns about the potential impact of parking on already-clogged streets. In response, the developers said that the renters will be given one free space with the six garages that exist on the site, which conforms to Manayunk Neighborhood Council parking guidelines.

In addition, residents will also have right of first-refusal on the remaining garages.

With several bedrooms currently in existence at the site, the developers suggested that their plans will actually reduce the number of people living in the building.

“I am very understanding of the situation with the parking,” said Kovacs, who told MNC’s membership that he has lived on Ripka Street for over 50 years.

A vote of ‘non-opposition’ 

John Hunter, leader of MNC’s zoning committee, explained that the developers are essentially seeking to “legalize” the building, which has long existed as a multi-family unit despite its existence within a district zoned for single-family row and twin homes.

“As a principal, we don’t approve or support subdividing homes into multi-family,” said Hunter, explaining that it would serve as a bad precedent for the neighborhood.

Instead, MNC offers “non-opposition,” which is what the members of the MNC voted for unanimously on Wednesday night, with the stipulation that the developers incorporate street trees into their plans.

While a date for the zoning hearing wasn’t immediately available, work on the building is expected to commence this summer, with all three apartments planned to be available for rent by September.

In response to the vote of non-opposition, Kovacs told MNC’s membership that he will remain committed both to the site and to the community.

“If there are any troubles at all, make no bones about knocking on my door…about any questions, concerns, or problems that you might ever have,” said Kovacs.

“I’ve been there for 50 years,” he said, “and I plan to be there a couple more.”

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