Friday, March 17, 2006

Blog Updates

The news that a developer plans to put a 47-story condo tower on the site of the Ben Franklin Motel sent shock waves through surrounding neighborhoods. There's no question in my mind that this site is suitable for a highrise, since it's already surrounded by tall buildings. For me, the big issue is, how high? Most of the adjacent buildings are in the 25-story range.

There will be a meeting to discuss the project on March 22 at 7:30 pm, at the Highway Tabernacle Church, 18th and Spring Garden. If the developers can be convinced to do three important things, the tower could could actually make the parkway area a better, more interesting place. But they need to:

1) Use appropriate set backs to ensure the building doesn't end up as a dull slab.
2) Enliven the ground floor with retail.
3) Make the parking invisible.

The meeting is jointly sponsored by the Spring Garden Civic Association, the Fairmount Civic Association and the Logan Square Neighborhood Association.


Meanwhile, on the other side of Center City, the board of the Center City Residents Association has endorsed the Philadelphia School's efforts to buy a piece of city-owned land at 25th and Lombard. The K-8 private school, which desperately needs more classroom and playground space, is competing with three private condo developers for the land. With so much condo development taking place in the neighborhood, the CCRA board reasoned, quite rightly, that the area desperately needs new amenities to support the new residents. Last year, the Philadelphia School had to turn away 75 applicants just for kindergarten and first grade. The Philadelphia School plan not only includes classrooms and play space, but a 71-car underground parking lot.

The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation is managing the land sale for the city, so write them to let them know where you stand on the issue. Contact Tom Dalfo, 2600 Centre Square West, Philadelphia, PA, 19102 or email to: A decision is expected in the next few days.


Anonymous concerned for the future said...

Thanks for keeping the citizenry of Philadelphia of the comings and goings of the various idiots charged with running this City. I just read your article in the Sunday Inquirer about the new Concast Building's struggles to become a certified "green" building, and their encounters with both the intransigent unions and L & I. It really is unfortunate that the unions in this City are so far into the pockets of the politicians that good decisions can't be made because of fear based on ignorance. If someone at the unions at least would really look into these topics better, they would see that something such as a waterless toilet really isn't taking away their jobs.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous PP said...

Any update about the sale to The Philadelphia School?

2:15 PM  

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