Former Ajax Metal Works

Fishtown residents and Philadelphia planning commissioners support Core Realty's plans for the former Ajax Metal Works and dry ice building, holding onto only a few parking and billboard concerns.  They appreciate the plans mission to bring new use to these old, vacant buildings.  Residents voted 86 to 25 in favor of the proposal earlier this month.

The plans for the Ajax building include a 3,000- person music venue, a bowling alley, a restaurant and a working distillery with tasting room. The dry ice building, located across Allen Street, would house a country-western bar and grill.  The project would include a 13,000 square foot public green space near the Ajax building and 337 parking spaces, located beneath highway overpasses.

The project is called Canal Street North at Penn Treaty Village.  Core owns blocks of properties along Delaware Avenue, and Canal Street North fits into a greater master plan for the area.  The multi-block, mixed-use development is called Penn Treaty Village.  The master plan suggest family friendly entertainment and a unique pedestrian experience along Canal Street.  A current ongoing phase of the project is called the Penthouses at Penn Treaty Village.  These are condo conversions of two former auto storage buildings at Brown Street, one has been completed and the other has begun construction.

Plan Philly reports that because the project sites under three Zoning Overlays, the parking situation has gotten rather sticky, with the total overlays requiring 675 spaces.  Core feel that 337 spaces are adequate, because a trolley runs on Frankford Avenue and the Girard Avenue El stop is also close by.  Finding the right amount of parking is a balancing act, between providing enough for the development without creating a "sea of parking" says Scott Page, and urban designer with Interface Studio who presented Core's plan.

Commissioner Nancy Rogo-Trainer said despite the nearby presence of public transportation, she believes most people will drive to events at the venue.  She suggested Core bring a detailed plan for overflow parking when they return seeking board approval, and suggested that maybe businesses could use a parking validation system where patrons could park for free with a stamped ticket.

Commissioner Greenberger noted his understanding that Core could not build out the development all at once, but advised the development team to show commissioners that there is commitment to the plan for the larger area, and to put this portion of the development in that context.

Source: PlanPhilly


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