You may recall, we told you over a year ago about developer Steve Rodriguez’s plan to build a four story, mixed-use building on the triangular lot at 24th & Grays Ferry. The building, by Campbell Thomas and LABhaus, had been delayed for quite some time because of appeals by a cabal of near neighbors, who forced a number of minor changes to the design of the building before they would acquiesce and drop their legal challenge. But today we bring good news at last: The ZBA approved a final version of this project yesterday, and construction should begin in the near future.
The new building will contain twenty-two residential units, twenty-four parking spaces in the basement (plus mechanical parking lifts), and about 10,000 sqft of flexible commercial space. Jackie Balin from Fameco is the broker for the commercial space, which will contain two to five tenants, depending on space needs for those who eventually lease the space.
While Toll Bros., developers of 2400 South Street right next door to this development, repeatedly expressed that the area can’t support commercial uses and only added a small commercial space to their development after tremendous pressure from the community, Balin indicated to us that demand for this space is strong. Balin has numerous parties interested in the space, and expects more potential tenants to come forward now that the design is finalized. Hopefully, a couple will sign on around the time that groundbreaking takes place in the next few months, which will allow the buildout to account for specific tenant needs.
Oh, and we have some renderings of this ultra-contemporary structure:
Looking west. The garage next door, pictured in the rendering, has since been demolished.
Another change that’s taken place since the project was originally introduced is that it will be built using modular construction methods. According to Rodriguez, this will not only reduce the construction time dramatically and cut building costs, but it will also allow for additional green features to be included in the building.
The building will have a 100% permeable roof, with about 50% vegetation and the rest containing a mix of sedum and planks for roof decks. There will also be permeable sidewalks surrounding the property, as is planned at the Carpenter Square project a few blocks away. Most interestingly, all the residential units will have solar screens, a somewhat obscure technology that directs UV rays away from the inside of the structure, mimicking the effect of tinted windows in skyscrapers. The main benefit of this technology, aside from lowering cooling costs significantly, is that residents will be able to see clearly out their windows if looking straight ahead. Also, residents will be able to open or close the screens, which resemble mechanized venetian blinds.
A look at the screens from below
And from a distance, looking up Grays Ferry Ave.
This building will not only represent an architectural triumph for the neighborhood, but will also provide needed commercial amenities to an area that’s sorely lacking. Looking at this project alongside 2400 South Street next door, we can only shake our heads. This building will possess impressive and interesting design elements and offer four times the commercial space on one-tenth the land. Looking next door, we can only wonder what could have been.
Renderings come courtesy of LABhaus.