Planned development at the former Rivage site in East Falls continues to evolve with a name change and updated designs to maximize the community's natural light and green space. Tim McDonald of Onion Flats updated residents on the latest plans for 4324 Ridge Avenue. Onion Flats hopes to receive formal developer designation from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority in June to proceed with its plan for 123 apartments and several retail spaces on the 1.7-acre site at Calumet Street.
Now called Ridge Flats, synonymous with Onion Flats' other projects, the projects footprint has shifted from clusters of one- and two- bedroom apartment groupings, to a main U-shaped building with a smaller free-standing strip of apartments in the middle. There are also now three-bedroom units included, with the largest at about 1,200 square feet. The overall amount of retail space is up slightly, from 8,700 to 9,000 square feet, but the units will be smaller and flexible.
The new configuration allows for a larger central green space in which residents can garden, spend time outside and otherwise interact. For the public, The patio area and rain garden fronting Kelly Drive, meant to draw foot and bike traffic up from the riverfront, remains unchanged.
Reception among East Falls residents and the EFCC has been generally positive despite expressed misgivings about aesthetics. McDonald says design details are still works in progress. The design is meant to maximize natural light, because the apartments aren't built on a central hallway with units on either side, they have windows on more than one facade. Cut-throughs that extend vertically through the five-story buildings will provide interior light, key to keeping the complex completely energy self-sufficient.