Next door to the proposed site of the stalled American Commerce Center, Philadelphia developer Eric Blumenfeld wants to bring a three-building complex of 236 apartments, 10,000 square feet of office space and two restaurants to 19th and Arch Streets. Blumenfeld told the Philadelphia City Planning Commision Tuesday that his design would be a great building for world-class restaurants. Both restaurants would be about 800 square feet and would include three walls of windows that would provide connection to both the street and one of two courtyards. Two levels of underground parking for 65 cars each would be accessible from Arch Street. Loading for residents and the businesses would be off Cuthbert Street, and the request of neighbors.
The complex, designed by architect Stephen Varenhorst comprises three buildings, one 6 stories tall, one 12 and one 14. To build developer will need variances related to height, density and curb cuts. The building site is within the Logan Square overlay which limits building heights to 125 feet. The complex is 162 feet at its highest point. The proposed density seems to be the biggest hurdle for the developers. The property is currently zoned for C-4, allowing for a floor-to-area ratio of 5, enough for a building 5 stories tall. The proposed project is more dense than allowed with a ration of 7.7.
Blumenfeld said he hoped construction would start this spring. Planning Commission Chairman Alan Greenberger suggested that if it turns out construction won't start until later, Blumenfeld might want to wait for the adoption of the new zoning code. The new code contains density incentives that may make obtaining variances much easier.