For all of the excitement and controversy around the proposed 76 Place plans, there are still properties in the immediate vicinity that are underutilized, no matter where you stand on the viability of a Sixers arena in Center City. One such property is 1018-24 Arch St., which we visited early last year when we heard that the former bus parking/turnaround location was chained off. Since that visit, when we speculated that an apartment tower or hotel might be on the docket, this lot has grown even more appealing from a development standpoint given the big arena plans literally across Cuthbert Street to the south.
After the Greyhound and other buses made the move to Market St. due to the bus closure, we hadn’t heard any additional news on this parking lot. However, an email from the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) gave us some disappointing news for this CMX-5 zoned lot. When browsing the upcoming zoning meetings, we saw that there were plans for this property. Hurray! Upon closer inspection however, it seems as if those plans are for a 50-space surface parking lot. Oh no! Let’s scope out the property and the area more closely.
If you haven’t heard, we aren’t a big fan of surface parking in Center City, most especially on a site that has some of the most permissive zoning possible. Even if there were zero plans for an arena, we would have to think that this site could handle more than space for several dozen cars. We hope that we are mistaken and that this parking is part of a larger proposal, as the current owners spent several million dollars back in 2019 to procure the lot. Surface parking does require a special exemption for this zoning type, so the future trip to the ZBA in January may indeed be for this exact reason. It sure seems like a pretty penny to spend on such a premier parcel in a prominent place.