Originally Posted by Insoluble
I hear what you're saying and agree that a sunken garage would have been better, but 1706 Ritt isn't really the best example to bring up for good ground level presence. It presents a fairly solid wall to 17th street that isn't really any better than a ground floor garage. I think a garage podium isn't all that bad so long as it's done well with active uses fronting the street.
I agree that 1706 is not the best example.
In DC and NYC, also Chicago (for the most part), parking is below ground and the street level environment at development projects is generally better. The bohemoth parking deck at 800 Walnut, beneath Wills Eye Hospital and the pending U Penn Medical tower, is a particularly bad deck. The tenants there, a bank, a 7-11 and a Quiznos, reflect the dreary environment.
Philly has a lot of decks - several along West Market St., under the St. James at 7th & Walnut, at 1835 Rittenhouse Square, along the 900 block of Chestnut St and the 1200 block of Walnut St., etc., etc. Hopefully, Philly development economics will one day support below ground lots.