The gorgeous, imposing Latona Court development has been under construction for nearly a year, with the six homes in Phase 2 being completed now.
But expect that a dirt lot will remain on the north side of those homes at 1204-10 South 12th Street, for at least a little while. The proposal for the remaining six homes was voted down last month by the Passyunk Square Civic’s zoning committee, 4-1. Several members of the committee told us that neighbors thought developer Gagan Lakhmna pulled a “bait and switch.”
Lakhmna’s original proposal for the site, which used to have an ugly warehouse with an uglier flag mural, was for a single family home on that big-ass portion of the lot, according to the August 2011 zoning notice:
Demolish existing structure (zoned light industrial) to make way for construction of one large single-family home (1212 S. 12th St.), 9 single-family townhomes (1214 S. 12th St.) and 1 mixed-use structure with commercial space on first floor and two single-family dwellings on the 2nd and 3rd floors (1216 S. 12th St.).
The nine homes are the ones already finished or under construction and 1216 is the one on the south side of Latona street that’s already done. Lakhmna came back to the zoning committee last month saying he “was going to build a large single family home but due to personal reasons (which he did not share) he wanted to build 6 more units,” said one member of the zoning committee. ”So the neighbors thought it was a bait and switch.” Click here for the site plan.
Separately, neighbors were concerned about the amount of traffic from a total of 15 units when you combine it with the elementary school right across from the development’s common driveway and the fact that 50 units are being developed as the Wharton Street Lofts at the old Annunciation school nearby.
Meanwhile, it’s understandable that there could be an issue with trusting the developer. We’ve certainly thought all along that it was going to be 15 units, and that’s what the realtor has been saying. Noah Ostroff’s office told us that the six homes in the back, 2,500 square feet each with 2-car parking, will be going for $459k. And Lakhmna is the same developer who got into trouble when the real-estate bubble burst and all those developments by CREI in Northern Liberties went bust.
Looks like he’ll have to go back to the drawing board, or else we’ll be stuck with a dirt lot for quite some time.