If developers and the community can get onto the same page, South Kensington could soon see another big project arrive on the scene. Currently, 1712-28 N. 2nd St. is home to a large one-story industrial building and a similarly sized vacant lot that's about 25% filled with junky cars. If you visit this property, you might think that it also includes a large vacant lot to the north, as we did, but you would be mistaken, as we were. These properties stretch all the way back to Phillip Street, a side street that curiously dead ends at some concrete barriers at the northern property line and then picks up again a few feet later.
The project, as it's currently constituted, would entail six duplexes on 2nd Street and a 5-story, 44-unit building on Phillip Street. The units in the duplexes would all have garage parking, while the apartment building would have 14 parking spaces on the first floor. PZS Architects have done design work for the project, and we've been able to snag some images from the project's CDR application to give you an idea of what's being planned.
The project triggered Civic Design Review because the unit count is over 50, and the project came before the committee yesterday. Per Plan Philly, a representative from South Kensington Community Partners spoke at the meeting, indicating that the community does not support the project in its current design. The issue seemed to stem from a desire in the community to maintain the industrial nature of American Street, which may or may not be realistic as residential development continues to flourish in the neighborhood and industry increasingly moves to areas where it's less expensive to do business.
In addition, the community made the point that it would make sense to swap the buildings and locate the apartment building on 2nd Street and the duplexes on Phillip Street, a thought that came to us as well. The CDR committee concurred, and asked the developers to come back to the next CDR meeting with some changes. CDR recommendations aren't binding, but given that the RCO doesn't support the project and it will require a variance from the ZBA, it stands to reason that this thing will undergo some changes before it moves forward. Figure we'll have an update in a few weeks.