Last fall, we discovered a newly vacant lot at 1228-32 W. College Ave., across from Girard College, where developers had recently demolished a row of buildings that had seen better, less stuccoed days. We told you to look out for a new by-right project at this address with 11 apartments and 6 parking spaces, anticipating that construction would get started relatively quickly. And we were spot on for a change. Checking in on this project over the weekend, we could see that the construction has been moving swiftly for months. Also, we noted that the developers made an interesting choice, constructing the building with a courtyard in the middle, ostentibly to provide better natural light for the units.
If this were all we had on our mind, this story would feel a little premature. Fortunately, we’ve can dish on some additional news for the property immediately next door. This was a one story garage for many years, but that building was demolished at some point, perhaps around the same time as the stuccoed buildings next door.
Developers bought the building last summer and are now looking to do something similar to the project next door, only with 6 units and no parking. Unlike the developers next door though, these guys will have to go to zoning. It seems that this block was previously zoned for multi-family use but was remapped to single-family use at some point in the last year or so. Aside from the fact that this makes no sense given the large parcels on this block, this makes things more complicated for the developers even though they’re proposing a reasonable project for the location. It never ceases to amaze us that in a city that has so many properties that are zoned incorrectly, we still see new examples of counterproductive remapping. It won’t matter if the project gets approval at the ZBA in the end, but we wonder how and why this block was rezoned in the first place- perhaps someone that lives in the neighborhood can shed some light on the subject.