December PCPC Updates

Earlier this month the Philadelphia City Planning Commission gave their judgements on a few proposed legislations.  The PCPC gave a green light to a legislation that would allow the sale of the red brick pumping station at the foot of Race Street Pier to be sold to Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe.  The two organizations want to turn the building into a waterfront arts center.  the arts organizations plan to house a black box theater, two rehearsal studios, offices, and a bar and restaurant there.  The use is very consistent with what is proposed for the area, under the Central Delaware Master Plan.  The theater and studios will be active year round with artists from the region, around the U.S and abroad creating new works of contemporary dance, theater and music.

The PCPC said yes to Zoning Bill 100784, that would change the zoning of the former Edison High School building located at Eighth and Lehigh Avenue, from residential to area shopping center C-3 commercial.  The plan is to demolish the old high school, which is on the National Historic Register but does not have a local historic designation, therefore it can be torn down.  Developer Mosaic Development Partners plans to reuse a newer portion of the high school, transforming it into senior housing.  It also plans a 20,000 square foot grocery store and a take out restaurant with a drive-thru.  City Council however was not thrilled about the drive-thru restaurant part of the equation.

Commissioner approved Property Bill 10777, which accepts easements for at-grade crossings of the CSX railroad tracks at Race and Locust streets, and also an aerial easement for a pedestrian bridge over the tracks near 26th and Spruce streets, providing access to Schuylkill Banks Park.
-Property Bill 100779 which allows for a boardwalk to be built on the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia property between the Schuylkill River and CSX tracks, between the South Street Bridge and the CSX Railroad Bridge.


Mixed-Use Educational and Housing Facility in North Philadelphia

Philadelphia design firm WRT is designing a new mixed-use educational and residential facility in North Philadelphia for the organization Brighter Hope, a partnership of the Goldenberg Group and Bright Hope Baptist Church.  The project calls for the renovation of the former John Wanamaker Middle School for new Temple student housing and renovation of an existing gym and auditorium into a "green technologies center" and a charter school.

"The lively public realm and mix of users envisioned for this project take full advantage of its fortunate location between Temple University and the neighborhood, and between multiple regional rail lines and the Broad Street subway.  Creating a vibrant transit-oriented development at this significant town & gown location," said Antonio Fiol-Silva, a principal at WRT involved in the projects design.

The 4.5 acre site at 11th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue will contain housing for 2500 student residents.  Phase I of WRT's master plan calls for renovating the existing school for 600 beds in 180 units, as well as a new Green Construction Training Center and an Arts & Education Forum.  The project targets LEED Silver, maximizing the structures potential for adaptive re-use, and incorporating recycled content materials, energy efficient HVAC systems, and progressive storm water strategies.  Future phases include two new high-rise student residential structures, retail, a large open courtyard, and a structured parking facility.