A new residential development is coming to the South Kensington neighborhood very soon. The Zoning Board of Adjustment approved variances for this new development last November. The new development, called South Square, will be mostly townhouses and will replace a used car lot on Berks Street, between North Palethorpe and North Hancock Streets. It is being developed by AGA Developers and designed by popular, modern architects Harman Deutsch.
Attorney David Orphanides argued at the Zoning Board hearing that the site should be given a variance to allow residential development, because it is currently zoned ICMX for industrial use. He pointed out several residential developments on surrounding lots that are zoned for industrial use and the fact that the neighborhood is changing and becoming more residential. He, also, pointed out that the Philadelphia City Planning Commission recommended changing the zoning for that site to residential and/or commercial.
The new development wouldn’t be entirely residential, however. The developers are planning to have 17 townhouses facing Palethorpe and Hancock Streets and two loft-style duplexes facing Berks Street. The duplexes will each have a commercial space, on the ground floor, that could be used for retail, a small professional office, or an artist studio and/or gallery. Imbetween the rows of townhouses and the duplex buildings will be a drive aisle. Each townhouse will have driveways with pervious paving stones that allow grass to grow though them. The façade of the buildings will be modern with wood and metal panels. The whole development will have a homeowners association, which will include membership by the occupants of the commercial spaces. The developers are hoping that the commercial spaces will be occupied by artists living in the same development.