Developers have their eye on an old brownstone at 2108 Walnut St. and the vacant lot next door which has been used as a surface parking lot for many decades. We actually covered this building at one point a few years ago after a spa moved out of the first floor retail space, wondering when a new business would take over. So far nobody has taken over the space, but zoning notices on the property suggest that bigger plans are in store.
The zoning notices indicate that developers are looking to combine the two lots in question, build a five-story addition above the existing building and construct a nine-story addition on the lot next door. This project went to the Historical Commission last fall because it falls within the Rittenhouse Fitler Residential Historic District, though the building itself has not been designated as historic. As the HC meeting, the developers and architects Cecil Baker + Partners described their plan for a glass box addition at 2108 Walnut St. and a new building next door with stone veneer on the lower floors and glass above. The project, from what we can tell, would entail nine high-end residential units, a single retail space which would stretch across the width of the first floor, and eleven parking spots in the rear. We wish we could get our mitts on some renderings of this project but we're sorry to say we've got nothing in that department.
The project got approval from the Historical Commission, and then it went before CCRA in March. CCRA opposed the project. In addition, it appears that a neighbor has filed an appeal to the Board of Building standards, objecting to the approval of the project by Historic. With all of this on the table, the developers withdrew their application to the ZBA last week. It's unclear exactly what will happen next, we'd guess that the developers will either alter their plans to satisfy the community and/or the appealing neighbor, or they might just abandon the project entirely.
What do you think? Would a nine-story contemporary building be a nice addition for this block? Or do you think it's very important to maintain the historic scale of the 2100 block of Walnut Street?