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  #21  
Old Posted May 4, 2014, 10:27 PM
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shakman shakman is offline
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Originally Posted by Philly Fan View Post
And the wind. Can't forget about the wind.

[Gotta love NIMBY's who seem to forget that they live in the DOWNTOWN OF A MAJOR CITY. ]
The wind. That's a new one. These NIMBY's have a given a whole new definition of NIMBYism.
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  #22  
Old Posted May 4, 2014, 10:32 PM
Philly Fan Philly Fan is offline
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Originally Posted by shakman View Post
The wind. That's a new one. These NIMBY's have a given a whole new definition of NIMBYism.
For those who haven't read the article:

Quote:
One woman asked if the developers had done a “wind study,” saying that all the new highrises in Center City are increasing wind in the neighborhood. The developers said that they had not conducted a wind study.
http://www.phillyliving.com/blog/201...-ccra-meeting/

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  #23  
Old Posted May 4, 2014, 10:58 PM
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miesian miesian is offline
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This is the year of Chestnut Street....bring it on!
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  #24  
Old Posted May 5, 2014, 12:53 AM
MikeNigh MikeNigh is offline
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Originally Posted by Philly Fan View Post
For those who haven't read the article:

http://www.phillyliving.com/blog/201...-ccra-meeting/

Ironic since the windiest part of philly is the benjamin franklin parkway which has no buildings.
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  #25  
Old Posted May 5, 2014, 2:36 AM
mmikeyphilly mmikeyphilly is offline
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Originally Posted by Philly Fan View Post
For those who haven't read the article:



http://www.phillyliving.com/blog/201...-ccra-meeting/

They should have told the woman "No, but we've done a "hot air" report, and the winner is YOU!"

By the way, I happen to think it's a very nice design. That turquois color looks nice on paper. I remember when Symphony House was under construction, and they pulled out that first piece of "Pepto pink" façade, hmm. But actually, I don't know the few times I drove up Broad St. from South Philly, Symphony House didn't turn out too bad. Maybe the "Philly" air tuned it down a bit.
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Last edited by mmikeyphilly; May 5, 2014 at 2:42 AM. Reason: add comment about building
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  #26  
Old Posted May 5, 2014, 3:33 AM
Philly Fan Philly Fan is offline
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Originally Posted by mmikeyphilly View Post
I remember when Symphony House was under construction, and they pulled out that first piece of "Pepto pink" façade, hmm. But actually, I don't know the few times I drove up Broad St. from South Philly, Symphony House didn't turn out too bad. Maybe the "Philly" air tuned it down a bit.
Must be because of all the wind it's created.
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  #27  
Old Posted May 5, 2014, 7:52 PM
techchallenger techchallenger is offline
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Originally Posted by MikeNigh View Post
Ironic since the windiest part of philly is the benjamin franklin parkway which has no buildings.
You should embark on a hajj to 36th and Market Streets to seek out the true embodiment of wind.
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  #28  
Old Posted May 8, 2014, 7:20 PM
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summersm343 summersm343 is offline
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Apparently CCRA opposes this project because it does not have parking on site and the loading dock will take away 2 or 3 metered street parking spots. This means Pearl Properties is probably going to have to go through the ZBA to get approval if they can't work something out with the CCRA.

Thanks to sayitaintso for this info:

Quote:
From the CCRA newsletter this week:

CCRA OPPOSES PROPOSAL ENABLING 1900 CHESTNUT ST. HIGH RISE
CCRA's Board voted to oppose a proposed ordinance to enable the construction of a 27 story high rise on the southwest corner of 19th and Chestnut, across the street from the CVS. The site, four consolidated lots on Chestnut, 1900-1906, extends 120 feet along 19th Street, about 2/3 of the distance from Chestnut to Sansom. At an April 29 community meeting hosted by CCRA, the developer, Pearl Properties, displayed plans for ground and second floor retail, one floor for tenant amenities topped by 24 stories, including 115 residential units. The design retains the art deco two story structure most recently occupied by a Qdoba restaurant. The plan did not include a loading dock for moving trucks or trash vehicles and instead called for a loading zone on south 19th Street. The proposed loading zone is presently metered parking. Tenants' vehicles were to be valet parked at nearby garages, although the Pearl representatives advised that parking arrangements had not been confirmed.

Currently the parcel is zoned Commercial Mixed Use (CMX)-4 a designation permitting structures with a floor area ratio (FAR) of 500 meaning that the square footage of the building can be as large as 5 times the square footage of the lot size. In addition, the zoning code awards FAR bonuses for amenities such as underground parking or public space so that, with all available bonuses, CMX-4 potentially permits a 1200 FAR. Pearl's representatives stated that the proposed building has an FAR of 1300 and would qualify under the largest zoning designation, CMX-5. That classification specifies a base FAR of 1200 and includes a 100 bonus awarded for public art. Pearl promised to include public art but provided no details as to its nature or placement.

Under the zoning code enacted in August of 2012, a developer wishing to erect a structure which does not conform to the zoning classification must seek a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Rather than following the provisions of the Code, enacted after 4 years of public discussion in which CCRA and the Crosstown Coalition were major participants, Pearl proposed to bypass the Zoning Code via a City Council ordinance redesignating the parcel as CMX-5 and sought CCRA's support. The Board refused to support such an ordinance and notified Pearl Properties and Council President, Darrell Clarke, whose district includes 19th and Chestnut, that "CCRA opposes the project as presented as not worthy of a legislative change (i.e. City council ordinance) to the underlying zoning district of the subject properties. The foregoing is without prejudice or limitation to any position that CCRA might take should the matter go through the zoning code process."
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  #29  
Old Posted May 8, 2014, 9:06 PM
cafeguy cafeguy is offline
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Looks like Pearl won't be fighting against CCRA. They killed the skyscraper proposal...

“We are now in the process of revisiting alternative development options and approaches for the site.”

http://hiddencityphila.org/2014/05/p...1900-chestnut/

A midrise building in a highrise area which keeps the facade of a historic building that is inappropriately zoned for low density use.... and they still fought it because of parking.
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  #30  
Old Posted May 8, 2014, 9:21 PM
MikeNigh MikeNigh is offline
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I was going to say, couldn't see how they could cram parking into that and preserve the base structure. Not sure how I could sleep at night knowing I killed that building.
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  #31  
Old Posted May 8, 2014, 9:28 PM
Philly Fan Philly Fan is offline
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Originally Posted by cafeguy View Post
Looks like Pearl won't be fighting against CCRA. They killed the skyscraper proposal...

“We are now in the process of revisiting alternative development options and approaches for the site.”

http://hiddencityphila.org/2014/05/p...1900-chestnut/

A midrise building in a highrise area which keeps the facade of a historic building that is inappropriately zoned for low density use.... and they still fought it because of parking.
I don't view it that way at all. First, it's clear that CCRA opposed the procedure of circumventing the newly adopted zoning code with special legislation, and not the building design itself:

Quote:
Under the zoning code enacted in August of 2012, a developer wishing to erect a structure which does not conform to the zoning classification must seek a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Rather than following the provisions of the Code, enacted after 4 years of public discussion in which CCRA and the Crosstown Coalition were major participants, Pearl proposed to bypass the Zoning Code via a City Council ordinance . . . .
[From the CCRA newsletter quoted by sayitaintso and summersm343]

Quote:
Explaining that CCRA’s opposition was strictly procedural—”we do not opine on aesthetics,” he noted—Huntington explained the organization’s process for review. “The developer first meets with a [CCRA] task force. The task force presents to our Zoning Committee, and the Zoning Committee presents to the Board. The board determined that the project, as presented, was not worthy of legislative change.”
http://hiddencityphila.org/2014/05/p...1900-chestnut/

Also, I don't interpret the comments of Pearl Properties as necessarily meaning that they are abandoning this design:

Quote:
“We are now in the process of revisiting alternative development options and approaches for the site.”
http://hiddencityphila.org/2014/05/p...1900-chestnut/

This could mean that they'll merely decide to proceed with seeking a zoning variance. I really hope that they do, especially given this from the same article:

Quote:
Of the 1900 Chestnut process, Slogoff said, “Over the course of several months of meetings, presentations and concessions, Pearl Properties shared its plans with CCRA, stakeholders, Philadelphia Planning Commission and Council President Clarke. During this process, we received significant excitement and positive feedback, along with support from City Planning for the higher density remapping of this important corner.
As an attorney, that's how I interpret the CCRA's position, i.e., as an objection to the proposed process (avoiding the zoning code procedures), and not an overall objection to the building design itself. Hopefully, Pearl's attorneys will verify this interpretation with the CCRA, and advise their client to seek a variance for the current design.

Last edited by Philly Fan; May 9, 2014 at 3:09 AM.
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  #32  
Old Posted May 8, 2014, 9:36 PM
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summersm343 summersm343 is offline
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Thumbs down

Quote:
Originally Posted by cafeguy View Post
Looks like Pearl won't be fighting against CCRA. They killed the skyscraper proposal...

“We are now in the process of revisiting alternative development options and approaches for the site.”

http://hiddencityphila.org/2014/05/p...1900-chestnut/

A midrise building in a highrise area which keeps the facade of a historic building that is inappropriately zoned for low density use.... and they still fought it because of parking.
This says absolutely nothing about killing the highrise proposal. Don't scare me like that. This sounds as if they are keeping the same proposal just tweaking some things on the building to please the CCRA
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  #33  
Old Posted May 8, 2014, 10:02 PM
Philly Fan Philly Fan is offline
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Originally Posted by summersm343 View Post
This says absolutely nothing about killing the highrise proposal. Don't scare me like that. This sounds as if they are keeping the same proposal just tweaking some things on the building to please the CCRA
Also, see my post immediately above yours. I really think this was all about the plan to circumvent the new zoning code, in which CCRA feels quite invested, and NOT about the building itself. They just don't want to establish a precedent or pattern of developers going to City Council to do end runs around the code, which is understandable. Unless there's something else going on that's not revealed in what's been posted here so far, I think this highrise design is far from dead.
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  #34  
Old Posted May 9, 2014, 2:37 AM
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summersm343 summersm343 is offline
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Rendering of the base facing 19th

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  #35  
Old Posted May 9, 2014, 3:50 AM
domodeez domodeez is offline
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Rendering of the base facing 19th

Glad to see more blue and less green in the glass in that rendering. I love the classy refinishing of the base on 19th Street, which you can see very well in that one.

The Chestnut Street facade, however, suffers because of the large, brown square panel with the circular opening. Get rid of that and I like the building MUCH more. In its place I'd love to see something that mirrors the arched window above the entrance on 19th.

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  #36  
Old Posted May 9, 2014, 12:55 PM
br323206 br323206 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philly Fan View Post
I don't view it that way at all. First, it's clear that CCRA opposed the procedure of circumventing the newly adopted zoning code with special legislation, and not the building design itself:



[From the CCRA newsletter quoted by sayitaintso and summersm343]



http://hiddencityphila.org/2014/05/p...1900-chestnut/

Also, I don't interpret the comments of Pearl Properties as necessarily meaning that they are abandoning this design:



http://hiddencityphila.org/2014/05/p...1900-chestnut/

This could mean that they'll merely decide to proceed with seeking a zoning variance. I really hope that they do, especially given this from the same article:



As an attorney, that's how I interpret the CCRA's position, i.e., as an objection to the proposed process (avoiding the zoning code procedures), and not an overall objection to the building design itself. Hopefully, Pearl's attorneys will verify this interpretation with the CCRA, and advise their client to seek a variance for the current design.
As a practicing planner, I 100% agree with your interpretation. The CCRA doesn't want to establish a precedent of circumventing the established procedures.

I personally think this should be CMX-5 anyway, but they have a very good case for a variance. They're really not asking for that much more FAR and the tract is right next to CMX-5 zoning. If they attempt to get a variance I don't think they'll have an issue.
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  #37  
Old Posted May 9, 2014, 4:07 PM
McBane McBane is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philly Fan View Post
For those who haven't read the article:



http://www.phillyliving.com/blog/201...-ccra-meeting/

There's a thread about great NIMBY quotes in the City Discussions section. That one may take the cake! I recommend you post it there.
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  #38  
Old Posted May 20, 2014, 5:03 PM
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summersm343 summersm343 is offline
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Jeffrey Braff of the CCRA was extremely kind enough to respond to an email I sent him regarding this tower.

His response:

Quote:
Mr. Summers:

First of all, I apologize for not earlier replying to your email. The Association is a volunteer organization and I am chief volunteer among equals so sometimes CCRA projects fall lower on the to do list than they should.

Second, thanks for your interest in the Association and the neighborhood.

Now onto the hard stuff – responding to the queries raised in your email.

This proposal raised at least three issues, each of which was difficult:

• A procedural question – Should the Association encourage developers to bypass the City Zoning Code by requesting that City Council rezone properties they purchased knowing its current zoning?

• A land use question – Is a 25 + story building, whose loading and unloading would be on an already jammed 19th street, appropriate for this particular corner?

• A recurrent near neighbors question – How much credence should the Association pay to the concerns of near neighbors?

The background to the procedural question is that a group of CCRA volunteers spent four years attending more than 40 meetings at the Zoning Code Commission and at City Council as part of the procedure leading up to the new zoning code. That Code was enacted in August of 2012, so that the ink is hardly dry on the new law and its regulations. Under the Code, the developer could have sought CCRA’s support for a variance at the Zoning Board. Instead, the developer requested that CCRA endorse his request to sidestep the Code by having City Council rezone the property, a property that the developer purchased knowing that it was zoned CMX-4. Concern for making a precedent was troubling because the zoning process has safeguards for citizens and civics not built into City Hall’s legislative process including, most notably, the requirement that the developer appear at a community meeting. Another safeguard of the Zoning Code is its provision of the Civic Design Review process, a procedure that proved invaluable in another recent high rise project, One Riverside.

On the land use question, the developer claimed that its project qualified for CMX-5 zoning. However, in order to so comply, the zoning code would require off-site parking within 1,000 feet of the building for 30% of the units and public art. If the developer had sought a zoning variance rather than a City Council ordinance, the details of the parking and the art would have been detailed in the zoning application. As it developed, the developer admitted at our April 29 public meeting that it had no details as to the public art and had no arrangements in place for the off-site parking.

As for your observation that “I would rather a 26 story building adding residents and a new retail spot to this area than the three dumpy low rise vacant buildings and the empty lot that is there now,” you should note that the current CMX-4 zoning would permit the developer to erect a high rise, albeit a less dense one.

Finally, the Rittenhouse Plaza and William Penn House, two high rise communities closest to the site, had density and traffic concerns.

Even given these considerations, the Board only reached its decision with difficulty and there were opinions expressed pro and con. I hope that this explanation is helpful, if not satisfying.

Jeffrey L. Braff | President
Center City Residents’ Association
My response back to him:

Quote:
Hey Jeffrey,

Thank you so much for your response!

On the procedural question- agreed, no developers should bypass the CDR, ZBA or Planning Commission. I have no issue with this.

On the land use question- a 25+ story building is absolutely appropriate for this location if anywhere in the city. This is the heart of Center City, and there are plenty of buildings near by which are taller than the 26 floor, 295 foot proposed building. This building should be allowed to be built by right in this location. Anything shorter would be a serious waste of opportunity in my opinion, and I think the developers are being extremely reasonable with their proposal. As for the loading dock, would a truck coming in once a day to back into a loading dock seriously cause that much of an issue? As far as what the code calls for, why does it REQUIRE parking in the heart of Center City a hop, skip and a jump away from so many forms of public transportation? Should the code not be encouraging this sort of development? Lastly, what entails a “less dense” highrise? Less units? Shorter tower?

As for the recurrent near neighbors question- isn't it pretty much a given that people in the area are going to complain about a new building no matter what? Someone asked if the developer did a wind study for crying out loud. These people live in highrises, yet they are complaining about a proposed highrise. How could they have traffic concerns when there is no onsite parking? Is it the trucks that will be backing into the loading dock once a day, or is this really an issue of parking, and the worry that a new building with no onsite parking will put a strain on the available parking in the area?

In reality, a 26 story tower with street level retail and no parking is the type of building CCRA, CDR, ZBA and the Planning Commission should be welcoming to the heart of Center City.

What is the result of this project now? Is the CCRA denying it out right, or can the developers still go before the ZBA to get a variance?

Thanks for your time!
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  #39  
Old Posted May 20, 2014, 7:03 PM
wcphil wcphil is offline
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I literally LOL'd to: As for your observation that “I would rather a 26 story building adding residents and a new retail spot to this area than the three dumpy low rise vacant buildings and the empty lot that is there now,”

I really hope an association like that does not put too much weight in the near neighbor's issues. They need to be thinking for the greater good of the neighbourhood/city when it comes to large projects.
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  #40  
Old Posted May 20, 2014, 7:22 PM
domodeez domodeez is offline
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It's a loading zone, not a loading dock. Very, very different things.

A loading zone will not disrupt passing traffic. The trucks would simply pull over curbside along 19th street and unload.

My concern is the overly-generous valet zone. I would like to see it shortened to 25-30 feet to allow for two cars, no more. Otherwise, the valet zone and loading zone will create an 80ft deadzone on the SW corner of 19xMarket at most hours of the day.
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