Posted: Tue, Apr. 10, 2012, 9:58 AM
Luxury condos on Washington Square dealt setback
By Robert Moran
Inquirer Staff Writer
A state appeals court delivered a substantial blow Monday to a developer's plan to build a luxury condominium tower on property now occupied by the historic Washington Square home of former Philadelphia Mayor Richardson Dilworth.
Commonwealth Court sided with opponents of the project by reversing part of a zoning decision that favored the developer, vacating part of the decision, and sending several matters back down for further local review.
The decision follows a ruling this year by the city Board of Licenses and Inspections Review that prevented John J. Turchi Jr. from demolishing part of the Neo-Colonial house. Turchi has appealed that ruling in Common Pleas Court.
Paul Boni, the attorney for the Society Hill Civic Association, one of the opponents of the high-rise, said that Monday's Commonwealth Court decision was "more deadly" to the project.
"I don't know if the developer redesigns the project, or just gives up, we hope," Boni said.
Neil Sklaroff, an attorney for Turchi, could not be reached for comment.
The 16-story development - 17 stories, if counting the two floors of the penthouse separately - would retain about half of the Dilworth house and configure what remained into a lobby, office space, and maybe some added condo uses.
A key selling point for the project, besides its location, is that it would be designed by the renowned architectural firm of Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates.
The Dilworth house was built in 1957 and is considered historically significant because of Dilworth's decision to locate in the neighborhood, helping to stimulate a revival of then-declining Society Hill.
The Philadelphia Historical Commission approved the demolition, but the Board of Licenses and Inspections Review twice rejected the proposal.
Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/busines...#ixzz1rgLOc53y