On Saturday, Bloktoberfest came to a raucous conclusion as thousands rocked out beside the Jamaican Jerk Hut to the sweet jams of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. By the time Bloktoberfest 2014 rolls around, the big concert finale will need to find a new home, as plans are in the works for the redevelopment of this huge lot.
The specs of this project, from the same developers who are nearly finished building 1612-16 South St., are still coming into focus. Several possibilities for 1426 South St. are under consideration, all of which can be done by right. Whereas most of South Street West has a zoning designation that significantly limits height and density, this block allows for taller buildings and more units, ostensibly due to its proximity to Broad Street. Though a zoning variance won’t be required for the project, the developers still do plan to work with the SOSNA Architectural Review Committee to ensure that they come up with design elements that the community desires. Design work will be done by JKR Partners.
Like the project down the street, the development will be mixed-use. There will be a large commercial space on South Street no matter what. From there, there are a couple of possibilities. They might opt for a six story building with forty apartments and four homes on Kater Street. Another project under consideration is to have a six story building extend all the way to Kater Street with seventy-two units and twenty-two underground parking spots. The developers are still trying to figure out the most appropriate project scope for this location, and that decision could come soon.
Clearly, this project will have a considerable impact on the bottom line at the Jamaican Jerk Hut. We’ve always had a soft spot in our hearts for this business, which has made the best of its situation, being surrounded on both sides by huge vacant lots. While Symphony House residents may aggressively cheer this new development, we’ll be sad that one of the best outdoor restaurant spaces in Center City will soon disappear. We understand that the developer will attempt to help them negotiate with Kenny Gamble to lease the gigantic vacant lot he owns on the other side of their storefront. With any luck, the Jerk Hut will continue doing what they’re doing, just at a slightly different location.
The fact that this lot will soon be developed speaks to the tremendous growth of South Street West over the last few years. Assuming this project is successful, it seems likely that some of the other lots on this corridor will likewise be developed in the near future. And maybe, just maybe, the Royal Theater might be next.
Disclosure: OCF Realty, parent company of Naked Philly, is the broker on this development