Neighbors gathered at St. Charles Senior Center this past Monday, February 26 to attend the first public community meeting for the project proposed at 2401 Washington Avenue. This project was presented by ‘2401 Team’ with lawyer Hercules Grigos of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP and Agata Reister of Landmark Architects. Also represented is Noah Ostroff of Philly Living.
First, an overview was of the project site was made by the team. The lot is 45,000 sqft along Washington Avenue. The site will be built around the existing autobody and car wash businesses on Washington & 25th. The lot is currently zoned I-2 industrial and is surrounded by IRMX, RSA, I-2 and other various zoning categories in the neighborhood. The site is being designed to the IRMX standard. (See Philadelphia Zoning Guide for more information).
The 2401 Team has met with SOSNA’s Architecture Review Committee (ARC), North of Washington Avenue Coalition (NOWAC), and near neighbors on Kimball Street for additional feedback to bring together this design. The Team stated that this is a work in progress and any input in appreciated and considered.
They are proposing 80 units and 8,000 square feet of commercial space on Washington Avenue. They have designed the project to have a majority of the height on Washington Avenue and step down as you get closer to Kimball.
Mr. Grigos stated a few important aspects of this development:
Diverse housing stock: There are two full-rent apartment buildings, a variety of single family homes, duplexes, condo/flats, which creates price points that improve the housing stock - both rental and for sale.
Affordability: They are reserving 10% of total units to be moderate income/workforce (60% AMI of Philadelphia County, 8 of 80 units). These metrics are in alignment with Philadelphia’s Inclusionary Zoning bill but this project will not pursue the inclusionary zoning.
High-quality materials: The project will respect industrial character of Washington Avenue with brick facades, industrial sized windows, etc.
Commercial Space: 8,000 sqft of commercial space will hold the corner of 24th & Washington Avenue. The team wants to work with neighborhood to find what they want to see there and break it up into a number of different businesses. They stated their intent to to incorporate local businesses and less big boxes.
The project is broken into four buildings:
Building A: Multi-Family units
26 units, Mix of 1-, 2-, and 3-BR units
rentals fronting on 25th Street
Building B: Townhomes
Wanted to have lower density toward the back on Kimball,
Have 2 car garages, drive aisle that runs parallel to Kimball
Building C: Mix of townhomes, duplexes, and quad units
Quadplex (which is at the corner) will have 3 car garage; 4 of the townhomes on building C will have 1-car garages and one of the duplexes will have 3 car parking 4 of the townhomes on building C will have 1-car garages and one of the duplexes will have 3 car parking
Building D - Multi-Family
54 units, for rent
Ground floor commercial, ~8,000 sqft
Lobby is located in the middle
Driveway entrance further down Washington Avenue
Mix of 1-, 2-, and 3 BR units
38 parking spaces for 80 units (Required 3:10 parking ratio for IRMX; are currently above requirement)
8 interior bike spaces bldg. A
8 interior bike spaces bldg. D
14 spaces outside
3 on sidewalk/ could propose more
Street trees being added to Washington Avenue and 24th Street
SOSNA Zoning Committee Feedback
Overall, the committee appreciates the architecture reflective of Washington Avenue’s industrial history, diverse housing stock and inclusion of affordable housing and that the project exceeds parking requirements for IRMX. A committee member, who has asked for street trees at ARC meetings, appreciates the incorporation of more street trees on Washington Avenue and 24th. The architect stated that they have all been approved by Fairmount Park and expect to return to FP to request even more where possible and will work on the size of the tree pits. Another committee member asked about the size of the sidewalk on Washington Avenue. The Team stated that it starts at 19 feet at the corner and comes down to 11 feet as you come toward the center of the block. A member asked if they could use the curb cut on Washington Avenue for commercial loading to prevent congestion and bike lane parking. They also suggested that the loading zone could have designated hours during the day and open up the spaces at night for neighbors. The developer stated that this is an option they’re willing to explore and the existing commercial loading is inside of the garage of building A on the side of the interior street inside of the site.
Community Feedback & Questions
NOTICE OF MEETINGS
One neighbor who lives on the 2400 block of Carpenter did not receive notice of the meeting between the developer and residents of the 2400 block of Kimball Street (organized by NOWAC with notices by the attorney for the developer).
Not enough parking for businesses, residences, and neighbors.
Have you done a traffic impact analysis or trips analysis? Did it on the previous project but 80 units should not have much of an impact but happy to look at a traffic analysis.
How many of parking spaces are dedicated to specific units? 12 spaces for townhomes that have dedicated parking (2 car garages), 18 are allocated to the 54 apartments (approximately 1:3), none for commercial space(s) - large amounts of vehicular traffic are not expected to be generated by the small to mid-sized neighborhood serving commercial spaces.
Concerns about traffic flow from 24th and Carpenter into the lot, willing to address safety? Would rather see 24th street be an exit and keep traffic on Washington Avenue. Currently have 2 entrances and 1 exit, willing to look at how to reduce this impact with traffic studies.
More parking spaces cause more traffic so when we ask for more parking, we’re increasing congestion.
Concerns about vehicles exiting onto Washington - looks like a blind exit. Will be difficult to have exit on Washington Avenue next to the 2 car-based businesses on the same block. It’s been reviewed by streets and engineers, willing to include more safety measures.
What are the affordable unit costs and is it for 19146 zip code or Philadelphia County? 10% of total units will be affordable; located in multi-family buildings (Building A & D).
60% of AMI of Philadelphia County, not 19146.
Studio - $917
1 BR - $1,048
2 BR - $1,178
3 BR - $1,363
Concern about height of buildings that back up to the south side of Kimball (proposed 4 story with max building height of 44 feet)? The proposed buildings are shorter than what was originally proposed years ago (60’). In addition, the highest point fronts Washington Avenue (5 stories with max building height of 67 feet) and steps down as you move further back to Kimball, where the height is the lowest.
How do we submit requests for types of commercial businesses to invite? SOSNA will post a poll (link here) for you to submit what you’d like to see in the commercial space.
Is there green space for neighbors? There is a small pocket along 24th and between Building A and B but no larger parks proposed.
What was the site used as before? Concern about dust/pollution from site. Clean Phase 1 / Phase 2, will follow all DEP rules, including green mesh screen. Construction vehicles will access via Washington Avenue.
Has SOSNA presented a Community Benefits Agreement? Yes, depending on the route (ordinance v. variance), SOSNA will work with the developer on the components of the agreement. For consistency, the same components presented to 2101 and 2201 Washington Avenue have been presented to the developers of 2401 Washington Avenue.
The 2401 Team will look to receive neighbor feedback from this survey and at more community meetings with near neighbors and others impacted by this project. The Team will then need to decide whether they plan to pursue an ordinance with the Councilman’s office or go through the zoning variance process, which will require a community vote on the project.
Stay tuned for updates. SOSNA will post the community survey results on our website.