Friday, October 07, 2005

Notes and News

You know that summer is officially history by the number of big development projects appearing on the agenda of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, filling the dockets of Philadelphia judges and issuing invitations to groundbreakings. Next week, watch out for:

-The last round in the fight over 10 Rittenhouse, the Robert Stern tower planed for the L-shaped slot behind the beautiful Beaux-Arts Rittenhouse Club on Walnut Street across from square. Opponents, who are seeking to save four lesser townhouses on 18th Street that they call Rindelaub's Row, make an 11th-hour pitch to Common Pleas Court Judge Matthew Carrafiello on Oct. 12, 9:30 a.m., in Room 432 of City Hall. If the opponents prevail, at least that's one less retro Stern building in Philadelphia.

-City and CSX lawyers head back to federal court on Oct. 11 over access to the Schuylkill recreation trail, now renamed Schuylkill Banks. Meanwhile the Banks' parent, the Schuylkill River Development Corp., is expecting to take delivery either Oct. 11 or 12 on a pre-fabricated dock, which will be installed at Bartram's Garden. Kayakers, canoers and sailors - man your ships!

-Some 30 years after the University of Pennsylvania and the Redevelopment Authority razed the houses at 34th and Chestnut Streets, they're making the block residential again. Domus, a mixed-used, mid-rise condo project, will break ground Oct. 10 at 10:30 a.m. The project is the latest effort by Penn to repopulate the depopulated area on the edge of its campus. And isn't this nice: Invited guests get to park for free in the Penn parking lot on the opposite corner.

-And yet another tall condo tower goes for stealth zoning approval. A 26-story tower planned for the grassy lot at 5th and Walnut Streets, next to Aldo Giurgola's Penn Mutual Tower, is listed on the zoning board agenda for Oct. 12 at 9:30 a.m. Rumor has it the Civil War Museum will be the ground-floor tenant. Nothing wrong with any of that, although the tower will block many of Penn Mutual's east facing windows. Not that Penn Mutual minds. It sold the developer the lot to build the tower.

-Bart Blatstein doesn't mess around. The steel frame for his mixed-use, mid-rise Avenue North project, designed by Erdy McHenry of Philadelphia, is up on North Broad Street, at Cecil B. Moore Avenue.


Blogger mark said...

I'm fairly new to the city. What was 34th + Chestnut st. like 30 years ago? Was it beyond repair. Why was it demolished. In my opinion 33rd-34th and Sansom Streets has to be one of the top blocks in the city. That block of old houses(currently businesses) is amazing. Why is the 1600 block of Sansom going to be a parking lot? How does the city allow this, why doesn't the city have the sense to use the 3300 block of sansom as a blueprint for the center city stretch of Sansom?

Great update Inga.
What is your take on the Domus project on 34th + Chestnut? I've seen renderings and it will be an asset to University City but I personally was hoping for something a little more modern, a little bit taller.

How do you think the 10 Rittenhouse battle will turn out.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Inga Saffron said...

That block was a lot like the 3400 block of Sansom, though not as cleaned up as it is today. It was also home mainly to African American residents. Domus isn't a great building by any means, but it's much better than an empty parking lot. If they include retail on the ground floor, it could transform the area ..1600 Sansom is a long sad story of shameless neglect and even more shameless politics. Its owner, Wayne Spilove, has strong ties to Gov. Rendell.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Arthur J. Petrella said...

I'm truly astonished that anyone could be against the demolishion of the 18th st. row of stores which will allow 10 Rittenhouse Sq to be built.

The Stern Condo tower may be "retro" but it is a handsome if reserved building and will add greatly to the area with high desity high income city dwellers.

What did happen at the last court hearing?

5:21 PM  

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