Parking sure is tough in Center City, and it could soon get tougher. You may recall, last month we told you that we had heard that developers were buying the parking garage on the 2000 block of Lombard Street and would close it by the end of the year. We predicted that this building would be demolished and replaced with town homes in a by-right project, as the property is zoned for multi-family use. Needless to say, this would result in the loss of a couple hundred parking spots for the neighborhood.
For those wringing their hands about this project, we’ve got more bad news. At the same time that this property was listed for sale, another property, 414 S. 16th St., was also listed just a few blocks away. And in case you’re wondering, it’s also a parking garage. While we’d heard about movement for the garage on Lombard Street, we hadn’t heard much about the garage on 16th Street. But in the last couple days, we’ve heard rumblings that this garage is also under agreement. We have to imagine that this will mean it will also close its doors in the near future, with residential redevelopment a likely outcome.
The building would lend itself wonderfully to adaptive reuse, with condos or rental apartments being a great outcome, perhaps with parking on the first floor. We would be more inclined to expect a plan to demolish the building and replace it with six or seven town homes that would be listed for a couple million. Unlike the property on Lombard Street, this one is zoned for commercial use so a trip to the ZBA would be in order. And given the challenges that the developers are having in building four homes on the property to the south, we wonder just how amenable the community will be in supporting a variance at this address.
Assuming that both of these buildings sell and both of these parking garages close down, we will see a significant parking crunch in this neighborhood. We’ve been pretty consistent over the years in arguing against surface parking lots, but parking garages are a necessary evil in downtown Philadelphia. We can’t believe we’re saying this, but we legitimately wonder where everyone is going to park. That being said, we still don’t think that concern should get in the way of either of these properties getting redeveloped.