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Handful Of North Broad Street Proposals Highlights December's Overstuffed CDR Docket

    Civic Design Review's place in the city of Philadelphia's approval system may not be a comfortable one, but it provides a key opportunity for the public to get visual and technical details about major developments in the works.

    CDR meets once a month, but 12 projects on the docket for Dec. 3 forced it to expand to a morning and afternoon session. Here are the proposed developments for the nonbinding committee to review.

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    545 North Broad St.

    Elk Street Management has proposed a nine-story, 153K SF apartment building for the lot between Green and Brandywine streets on the east side of North Broad Street, with Canno Design serving as the architect of record.

    The project at 545 North Broad would come with 11K SF of ground-floor retail, 31 underground parking spaces and amenity spaces on the second and ninth floors. The partially green roof will also have a shared deck.

    The parcel is occupied by a defunct Goodyear car repair shop and is zoned for CMX-4 commercial mixed-use, so it does not require any variances from the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Elk Street still needs to go through the CDR process because its proposal both contains more than 100 residential units and is more than 100K SF.

    One block to the south of 545 North Broad is the corner of Broad and Spring Garden streets, one of the central junctures of the North Broad corridor that is the city's primary development hotbed (and an opportunity zone). On that corner, just across Brandywine Street from Elk Street's project, Eric Blumenfeld has proposed a 30-story residential tower.

    Two other proposals being considered by CDR on Dec. 3 also sit within two blocks of 545 North Broad.

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    510 North Broad St.

    Across Broad from Elk Street's project, Alterra Property Group has proposed a seven-story, 378K SF multifamily development wider than it is tall. A projected 486 apartments would sit above 44K SF of ground-floor retail, with a grocery store as a suggested use for the bulk of that space.

    A 283-space underground parking garage would include eight accessible spaces, 15 for electric vehicles, three for interior loading and one for deliveries. On the roof, Alterra plans for a 12K SF amenity space including a running track, and it has more indoor amenities planned for the ground and seventh floors.

    The project, designed by JKRP Architects, is by-right but its size triggered the CDR process.

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    427-43 North Broad St. 

    Toll Brothers' proposed 18-story, 362K SF multifamily tower, with the working title of Broad and Noble, would sit steps away from the entrance to the first phase of the Philadelphia Rail Park. Barton Partners is the architect of record on the project, which requires no zoning variances.

    Toll Bros. has brought in Utah-based private equity firm Sundance Bay, where two sons of Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) serve as executives, as a partner on the project, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The proposal calls for 282K SF of residential space broken up into 368 apartments, 24K SF of amenity and mechanical space and 10K SF of ground-floor retail, split into two units.

    One of the retail units will occupy a separate two-story building, where the second floor is slated for a 6,599 SF office space. In the main tower, the 18th floor and part of the ground floor are to be reserved for amenities, as would a roof deck. A 46K SF underground parking garage would contain 107 parking spaces.

    The lot is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to the CDR submission form, and currently serves as a parking lot. Toll Bros. is under contract to purchase the lot from the church once the zoning process is completed, the Inquirer reports. Like Alterra's project, Broad and Noble is at least partially motivated by its place in an opportunity zone, per the Inquirer.

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    Handful Of North Broad Street Proposals Highlights December's Overstuffed CDR Docket

    915 North Broad St.

    A few blocks north of the increasingly crowded Broad and Spring Garden corner and just steps south of the Girard Avenue stop of the Broad Street subway line, a smaller mixed-use building of less well-known origin has been proposed.

    The property owner and developer listed on the CDR submission is Z Realty, with a listed address at 612 Washington Ave., Unit 1. A web search for that address brings up a company named LZ Realty, run by Lily Zhao.

    The proposal calls for the demolition of three commercial structures and the erection of a seven-story, 90K SF building with a 6K SF ground-floor retail space and 21 parking spaces in a ground-floor garage.

    The entrance to the residential lobby will contain a ceramic tile decoration from one of the buildings to be demolished, and the stylized crown is designed to match a neighboring religious temple. Both touches came as a result of the developer's meeting with the area's Registered Community Organization.

    Though the site is zoned CMX-4, the project requires variances both for its parking and its plan to exceed the legal floor-to-area ratio of 500% (at a proposed 560%). A ZBA hearing is scheduled for Jan. 22.

    The second story is slated to contain 15K SF of office space, with the third through seventh floors set back on the north side of the building and containing 70 apartments. The exposed second-floor roof is proposed to contain a greenery-heavy deck for residents, and the seventh story would also be capped with a green roof. The sixth and seventh stories are planned to be combined to create loft-style apartments.

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    1101-53 Chestnut St.

    National Real Estate Development will be presenting the final phase of its East Market project, comprising a medical office building and a multifamily tower, each with ground-floor retail and sharing a parking garage extending three floors underground.

    A parking garage that stretched nearly the full block of Chestnut Street between 11th and 12th streets will be demolished for the projects, which have been granted conditional zoning approval. The land is owned by the estate of early 19th century magnate Stephen Girard, one of the richest men in American history, and ground-leased to the partnership led by National.

    The medical office building, a 400-foot-tall, etched-glass tower designed by Ennead Architects, is scheduled to be constructed first. The 700K SF building is slated to rise 24 stories at its highest point, with a side portion hitting only 15 stories. The top four floors of the main tower are set aside for mechanical systems, which will occupy the second and third floors of the 15-story portion. 

    The ground floor would include two narrow retail spaces and a spacious lobby, while the second floor would contain a larger "welcome center" for the healthcare tenants above. For the residential building, marked in the CDR submission as a "future" project, the ground floor would have one, larger, retail space and the second floor would be an amenity space for tenants.

    The 250K SF, 396-unit tower, designed by Morris Adjmi Architects, is proposed to also have 24 floors, but with shorter ceilings so the building will only reach 258 feet tall. A 30-foot mechanical penthouse would sit on the roof. The two buildings would be split by a pedestrian path called Chestnut Walk, which also divides the rest of East Market.

    The first phase of East Market held its ribbon-cutting ceremony late last year, debuting two multifamily towers and an office building, the latter of which counts WeWork as one of its tenants. The second phase, a redevelopment of the historic Stephen Girard Building into a hotel under the Hilton Canopy brand, is under construction.

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    225 North 38th St.

    The proposed building going by the name One uCity Square is a continuation of University City Science Center's multi-phase project, with Wexford Science + Technology maintaining its role as lead developer. The joint venture, which also includes Ventas for this phase, has a ground lease on the property with landowner Drexel University.

    When the project was announced in August, it targeted a groundbreaking date by the end of the year, which means that a smooth CDR process can still, barely, keep it on schedule. Read Bisnow's coverage of the announcement here.

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    1130 North Delaware Ave.

    Streamline Group, the local developer that has mostly focused on townhouses and duplexes to date, has proposed a nearly block-long apartment building on the site it purchased from Core Realty for $7.75M in June, the Inquirer reports.

    Core, which has been developing the nearby entertainment complex anchored by the Fillmore music venue, had initially proposed a 184-unit project with a rock climbing gym that would have put ground-floor retail and some apartments in the historically protected Edward Corner Rope building on the southeast corner of the property. Streamline has done away with any retail uses and raised the apartment count to 244 in its CDR proposal.

    The 215K SF project on what is now a parking lot would include surface parking on the portion facing away from Delaware Avenue, partially covered by an overhanging portion of the building. Standing 10 stories and 124 feet tall, the property faces Penn Treaty Park and the recently renamed Rivers Casino.

    Streamline, whose co-founder Sean Schellenger was fatally stabbed in an altercation in Rittenhouse Square in July of last year, plans to convert the Edward Corner building into its own headquarters and began a renovation process soon after its acquisition, with a projected timeline of six months.

    Within two months, the process had caused one of the walls to buckle and drew a lawsuit from the Department of Licensing & Inspections over what it called "incompetent" construction, the Inquirer reports. Streamline's construction team has since taken more safety precautions, and the building is still part of the project's plans.

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    175 West Oxford St. 

    Another multifamily project looks to be going up in the fast-growing neighborhood of South Kensington, north of Northern Liberties and west of Fishtown. Northern Star Development is listed as owner of the project titled Oxford Court on the CDR application, and is co-developing the 216K SF, six-story building with Fishtown-based Ampere Capital Group.

    Northern Star doesn't have a company website, but a person named Giora Griffel is listed as the founder and principal CEO on the LinkedIn profile page of Northern Star Developments, based in Cranbury, New Jersey. As with LZ Realty, a small spelling discrepancy exists between the company name on the application and the most likely company found elsewhere on the internet.

    The site in question is mostly vacant, with one small, two-story commercial building that would be integrated into Oxford Court. The lot is zoned RSA-5, for attached single-family dwellings, meaning the 159-unit project will require a zoning variance. The proposal includes 32K SF of retail space, and is bounded by Oxford Street on the south side, Second Street on the west, Hancock Street on the east and Turner Street on the north.

    The project, designed by SITIO, would comprise two rows of townhouses and two mixed-use buildings: one built entirely new that would have a ground-floor retail section fronting Hancock Street, and one including the existing structure that would have three floors of retail, one floor of apartments and a roof deck.

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    2315 North Front St.

    Northeast of Oxford Court, less than a block away from the York-Dauphin station of the Market Frankford Line in Kensington, Ampere Capital Group is proposing a five-story apartment building with two ground-floor retail spaces on an irregularly shaped vacant lot. On the south side, the lot abuts a two-story commercial building and a five-story former industrial building that is being redeveloped.

    The CDR submission does not include a total square footage for the development, but indicates 63 proposed apartments, including seven on the ground floor. ACG purchased the lot in March for $1.2M, according to city property records.

    The larger retail space, at 3,100 SF, would open onto Front Street and include outdoor seating around the side. The 1,500 SF space opens onto the residential Jasper Street. The building, designed by Harman Deutsch Ohler Architecture, is slated to include 22 bicycle parking spaces but no vehicle spaces.

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    2301 Oregon Ave.

    Cedar Realty Trust is presenting its plan to combine two operating shopping centers in Southwest Philadelphia and add considerable multifamily density, to be called South Quarters Crossing, for the second and final time at CDR on Dec. 3. The sprawling center stretches from Oregon to Passyunk Avenue and from 24th Street almost all the way to 22nd Street; 23rd Street divided the original two centers.

    Cedar would either leave in place or perform facade renovations on 314K SF of retail, including nine anchor tenants, while adding 139K SF of new retail, 232K SF of residential and a 138K SF parking garage. The garage would add 433 spaces and the reconfigured surface lot would contain 872 spaces. 

    The development plan is to demolish three buildings on-site, expand two buildings and leave the dimensions of three more buildings intact. Facade renovations are planned for two multi-tenant strip retail buildings and the single-tenant ShopRite building, with no updates planned to the McDonald's on-site. A Burger King is slated to be redeveloped with a new tenant in place, with renderings indicating that it would still contain a drive-thru.

    Four new-construction buildings are planned for the site, all with ground-floor retail, with 280 apartments planned to be split among them. Between new and to-be-vacated space, Cedar expects to have 158K SF of retail available to lease.

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    7071 Milnor St.

    Missouri-based NorthPoint Development is getting in on the emerging trend of distribution centers within Philadelphia city limits. Its 222K SF distribution center proposal, designed by Studio North Architecture, would sit on a 12.9-acre site bordering the Delaware River in the Tacony neighborhood of North Philadelphia. The building itself would take up about 40% of the site's land.

    The proposal calls for 42 loading docks, 35 spaces for trailer parking and 161 car spaces, with driveways on Milnor Street to the west and Princeton Avenue on the north side of the lot. The submission's designs don't state the loading docks' clearance heights outright, but scale drawings appear to show around 36-foot clearance.

    The vacant lot is already zoned for industrial use, but any use greater than 100K SF automatically triggers the CDR process. The site is about a mile northeast of an entrance to Interstate 95.

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    3417 Indiana Ave.

    Main Street Development, based in the Montgomery County suburb of Blue Bell, has submitted a seven-story, 150K SF apartment building with 20K SF of ground-floor retail and a 26K SF underground parking garage. The 75-foot-tall building would include 176 apartments, and a fresh produce market is planned for the retail component.

    The U-shaped building proposal, designed by M Architects, comes with an almost completely green roof with a small portion cut out for a resident deck. In the space between wings is planned an outdoor amenity space, with a dog run and outdoor pool set farther back from the building.

    The lot at 3417 Indiana is vacant, nestled between Laurel Hill Cemetery on the west, Mount Vernon Cemetery on the east and another vacant lot across Indiana Avenue to the south in the Allegheny West neighborhood. East Fairmount Park lies on the other side of Laurel Hill Cemetery, which hosts events, tours and a gift shop.

    Zoned for industrial/residential mixed-use, the lot requires no variances.