Pretty much next door to a giant, unattractive, though unexpectedly in use warehouse building, and half a block away from an older one-story building that will probably soon be replaced by single family homes, a decent sized vacant lot will likely soon be turned into a new development. According to a zoning application, developers intend to construct three new homes, each with two-car parking, at 444-48 Fairmount Ave., which seems like a challenge unless you think three dimensionally.
With a 43′-wide lot, three new homes would each be a little over fourteen-feet wide. Sure, we see skinny houses all the time, especially in neighborhoods with really old housing stock like Queen Village, but we wouldn’t expect to see such a thing in this neighborhood. And how are you supposed to fit two-car garages in fourteen-wide homes? Car lifts?
According to minutes from two NLNA meetings (developers Callahan Ward presented twice in the past six months), the solution to the puzzle is that the homes won’t front Fairmount Ave., but will front a common driveway coming off of the street. Each of the homes will sit on 27′ deep x 30′ wide lots, which will easily accomodate two car parking, and the addition of a common drive will add one parking space back onto Fairmount Avenue, which is always a plus.
The NLNA zoning committee seemed a little unsatisfied with the initial design, which was improved for the second presentation after a consultation with the neighborhood design committee. By the time last month rolled around, the project had won support from the community and approval at the ZBA, according to a representative from the developer.
Check out these renderings, which come from Fishtank PHL, a favorite of ours.
Rendering of the project
Elevation of the facades of the homes
Where the design started, fronting Fairmount Ave., and where it ended up
To address neighborhood concerns about a blank wall on the street, the developers created a true front door to the home on Fairmount Avenue, and also added additional glass, a projecting bay, and planters. As you can clearly see, this collaboration with the neighborhood produced a superior design which should be beneficial to the developers in selling the property and to neighbors who will have to look at it for decades to come.
Construction should be getting underway at the end of this year or early 2013.