The Planning Commission’s Civic Design Review committee heard a presentation about the redevelopment of a long-vacant site at 27th Street and Girard Avenue recently. The site extends all the way to the North Star Bar on Poplar Street and over to Taney Street. Previous proposals for the site included a drive-through McDonald’s and a supermarket. Now, developers M+M Partners and ADCO American Development propose building a five story apartment building and townhouses on the site. They presented their plans to the CDR committee on October 7.
Glenn Warner, of JKR Architects, made the presentation. He noted that the lot had previously been CA1, allowing for auto-oriented retail, such as the proposed McDonald’s. It is now CMX3, which allows a mixed-use development of housing and retail. The apartment building will be all along the Girard Avenue side and will have 68 apartments and 15,000 square feet of retail in five spaces. The apartment sizes will be junior one-bedroom, one-bedroom, and two-bedrooms. There will be ten three-story townhouses on the 27th Street side. The townhouses will have garages in the back and the apartment building will have a 50-space surface lot accessible by 27th and Taney Streets. The surface parking will not be visible from Girard Avenue or 27th Street. There will, also, be 48 bike rack spaces and additional bike racks on Girard Avenue. The apartment building and each townhouse will have roof decks and green rooves. The facades will be very modern, with large windows and metal and wooden panels. The first three stories of the apartment building will have wooden panels meant to relate to the three story homes of the neighborhood.
In committee discussions, one member questioned whether the store front signage would be high enough and another member questioned the developer’s plan to have two curb cuts and a drive-through window, right off of Taney, for possible bank or drug store tenants. Committee members, including Registered Community Organization representative Larry Reynolds of the Fairmount Civic Association, seemed to believe that a drive-through window would be unnecessary in such a dense urban neighborhood. The committee praised the developers’ sustainable features. After voting to accept these comments, the CDR committee voted to end the Civic Design Review process for this project. Three members voted to end the process and four apparently abstained.
By, Gabriel Gottlieb