A couple of months ago, we broke the news that vacant eyesore 1612-16 South Street was under agreement, and that the buyer intended to build something that included both residential and commercial units. Last night, representatives for the developer (including a representative from OCF Realty) presented an information session for this project at the SOSNA zoning meeting.
We now know that the developer intends to construct a single, four story building on this site with a 2,500 sqft commercial space on the first floor. The developer is seeking a marquee restaurant tenant for the space. One ADA apartment will be on the first floor, along with five on the second floor, and four on the third and fourth floors. That’s a total of fourteen rental apartments, altogether. The building, designed by Harman Deutsch, has a bit of a warehouse look to it.
Rendering of the proposed building
The reactions from the audience and the SOSNA zoning board were somewhat mixed. Some people were grateful for the large commercial space, the likes of which are very rare on South Street West. A few who spoke specifically indicated that they didn’t have a problem with the height, open space, or density.
Other near neighbors were concerned about density, and transient tenants in the apartments, which range in size from 350 sqft to over 800 sqft. One of the board members had concerns about the size of the rear yards, desiring more of a setback from the properties to the rear on Kater Street.
A representative for the developer explained that the large commercial space necessitates the height and the dimensions of the building. Financially, the best return would be provided by a strictly residential use on this site, with nine condos. The second best return would come from three separated commercial spaces, with residences above.
With this plan, the combined commercial space will hopefully provide an anchor tenant on South Street West, and help the corridor continue to move in the positive direction it’s been headed for the past couple of years. And the additional apartments will provide more customers for South Street businesses.
This project will come back to SOSNA for a vote next month, with a couple of changes to address neighbor requests.
Full disclosure: OCF Realty is the parent company of Naked Philly.