Marina View Gets Approval

Monday the Philadelphia Historical Commission approved the controversial Marina View Condominium Building, which opponents criticized for its incompatibility with the Old City Historic District and Master Plan for the Central Delaware.

PlanPhilly reports: The 8 story building over a 3-story parking garage, received a Plan of Development approval from the Philadelphia City Planning Commission in mid-June, with the approval granted having to do primarily with matters of size and massing.  The Architectural Committee of the Historic Commission also reviewed the project for design and compatibility considerations in the context of the Old City Historic District.  The project didn't fare well, with committee members expressing particular concern about the colors and materials planned for the building.

Therefore, Monday the applicants began by offering some new design compromises.  They presented various design features that include: its height difference to the bridge anchorage, its set-back siting, the green roof on its garage.  Architect Eric Rahe of BLT Architects said that in response to the Architecture Committee's suggestions, he was open to softening some of the disputed orange accents, and to filling in the void left by the connection between the parking and the residential units.

Even though the project was granted approval, there are still a majority which disapprove of the project which they feel sets the bar low, as the first development since the adoption of the Delaware River Master Plan.  Many would like to see a better quality of materials and color choices.  The attorney to the developer Louis Cicalese, argued that the building would not offer a "trophy" design, and budget constraints and the buildings target market and intended use governed the choice of materials.  Sounds to me like the Developer doesn't hold his future occupants in high regard, staking his claim that they and the city only deserve cheap building materials.  The Developer doesn't seem to care about how poorly the building materials will age over time, adding to a future decline in neighborhood aesthetics, before the neighborhood can truly manifest itself.

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