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1600 Carpenter - Meeting #2 Recap

SOSNA hosted the second community input meeting for 1600 Carpenter, the site of Hoa Binh Plaza (You can read the recap of Meeting #1 here.) The project was presented via ZOOM on Wednesday, February 16, 2021 to over 40 neighbors and impacted parties by the project’s Attorney, Dawn Tancredi of Zarwin Baum, Rustin Ohler of HDO Architects and developer representatives Mike Stillwell, Jessie Lawrence, Keith Casey

Steve Kosloski from Streamline Philly.

The project included updated plans that include 1601 Washington Avenue (the northwest corner of 16th & Washington triangle shaped lot owned by a different party) and a proposal to either put the loading dock curb cut on Washington Avenue or 16th Street. The proposal still plans to demolish the existing building and construct:

  • 12 single-family dwellings with 1 car garage

  • 5 seven-family dwellings with 2 car garage

  • 7 two-family dwelling

  • 7-story mixed use building with

    • ground floor commercial: 23,000 sq ft

    • underground parking: 119 parking spaces

    • residential units above: 223 units (a mix of studio-two bedrooms)

Other additional features:

  • Rowhomes on the northside are accessed by a common drive-aisle with a curb cut on 16th

  • The two-family dwellings in the middle of the property are accessed via a walking path that cuts through the property.

  • Trash for all properties will be removed by private hauler

    • 3 areas for trash storage, indoors, air conditioned, picked up by private hauler 1-2x a week from 16th, 3x a week at the end of the month during move outs

  • Applicant proposed wider sidewalks on Washington Avenue, support for bike lane infrastructure and street trees where allowable

  • Green roof accessible to tenants in mixed use building

  • The project will maintain walking, landscaping corridor between property and Chadwick homes (3 foot alleyway + pedestrian pathway)

SOSNA’s Board Chair, Nolan Tully, stated that SOSNA, North of Washington Avenue Coalition (NOWAC) and VietLead are in negotiations with the applicant for a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) that includes affordable housing, local job creation, diversity hiring of contractors, standardized building materials, etc. VietLead representative, Nancy Nguyen, stated that they had met with previous tenants of Hoa Binh Plaza and wanted to state the concerns of first right of refusal, First right of rental, caps on lease fees, affordable units and community use.

Loading Zone Curb Cut

The applicant brought the discussion of the curb cut for the loading docks for commercial property to the community. There are two options: A) put curb cut on Washington Avenue or B) put curb cut on 16th Street alongside curb cut for proposed garage. There were many pros and cons for each.

Thoughts on curb cut on Washington Avenue for Loading Dock:

  • Concern about safety of the bike lane and pedestrians

  • Washington Ave is a two-way street so trucks can enter and exit on this street

  • Concern about trucks cutting into traffic and bike lane, truck will have to block of ½ of wash ave to back into it

  • Disrupts walkability and commercial frontage on Washington Ave if there is a curb cut

  • Near neighbor on S. Chadwick street expressed preference that curb cut for truck deliveries not be placed so near the intimate residential street

Thoughts on curb cut on 16th Street for Loading Dock:

  • One-way northbound street would direct “exiting” traffic into neighborhood with many “NO TRUCK” streets

  • Potential to make 16th a two-way street like 15th is for Lincoln Square (would eliminate most existing parking on both sides of the street)

  • Setting the loading zone directly next to already proposed curb cut and drive aisle for the garage creates a single wider disruption of the sidewalk and there are only two visual/turning clearance zones created in total, where trees and other curbside furnishings cannot be installed on either side of the conjoined drive aisle/curb cut, whereas if they are separated with one on Washington Avenue, then four total clearance zones are created, which creates more linear feet of sidewalk interruption/disruption and reduced sidewalk functionality when considering the project as a whole.

Quality of Materials

Another topic of conversation was the quality of materials being used for this project and the concern from community and Zoning Committees about Streamline’s building reputation throughout the city. Some concerns were also expressed about the use of wood framing for a 7-story building. Streamline stated that there’s been a “handful of issues with a couple hundred issues a year”. The applicant stated that they have 3rd party reviews, including L&I for projects. It was asked if there are any other buildings they have built of this scale that we can use as a comparison (this will be their 2nd seven story building - not completed yet and there are rehabs in North Philly but no new construction).

Community Questions:

  • What is the size of the commercial space? (23,500 sqft)

  • What is pricing for apartments? (Apartment units studios up to 2 BR $1000 to mid $2000s)

  • Are there parking spaces reserved for commercial customers? (119 parking spaces, 45 to commercial remainder for residential usage)

  • How does the mixed-use building compare to Lincoln Square height and unit wise? (Lincoln Square is 9 stories, 1600 Carpenter is 7 stories - 20’ difference. Lincoln Square is uniform height across the development.)

  • Any thoughts/targets for the first floor commercial? (Do not have a tenant in mind now; not limiting it to grocer)

  • Architect mentioned the revised plans entail fencing lining Chadwick Street - any additional updates for neighbors’ concerns about security/ surveillance cameras? (entire project would have integrated security cameras)

  • In July 2019, the City Planning Commission voted against Streamline's request for a zoning variance for this project - what has been their response to this version of the development? (Hasn’t spoken with Planning Commission; made suggestions. Will have preliminary meetings to adapt the project for Civic Design Review.)

  • What is the proposed/revised timeline for part A and part B (respectively)? Will these happen concurrently? (Carpenter Street side will start sooner - it’s simpler to document and permit from a city standpoint, phasing is TBD).

  • In the plans it mentions 119 parking spaces, but it says 34 surface and 85 "mechanical" - does that mean car lifts? (automated mechanical parking system, Google “puzzler parking”)

  • Oftentimes these parking spaces are at an extra cost to tenants in buildings- most residences cannot afford parking on top of rent so they overflow in the neighborhood. Are you charging extra for parking on top of rent? (Yes there will be a fee for parking, not lumped into the rent)

  • Back property lines up this area; have large trees that fall into main alleyway - concern about trees being demolished (No trees on their property; any trees on neighbor’s properties wouldn’t be affected)

  • When you’re digging for underground parking, what structural things are put in place to secure other structures (Currently fairly far away from structures of other buildings, Streamline just finished underground parking with steel and framing at 2nd and Girard)

  • Is there a portion of the new development reserved for low-income residents? (Ongoing communication about the project, not sure what final count will be to determine how many units)

  • How much is the rent for the commercial unit as well. Is it for the community or another franchise? (Market rate currently; No).

  • Has the developer engaged a commercial real estate broker for the project? (Yes, have had conversations with commercial real estate developer)

There was no vote taken at this meeting and there is not currently another meeting scheduled for this project. To stay up to date, sign up for SOSNA’s email newsletters.


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