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What's Happening in:  Pennsport 

Revised Mt. Sinai proposal calls for shorter townhomes, more parking

At another community meeting last night regarding the development of the old Mount Sinai Hospital at 4th and Reed streets, the developer and his team revealed revised plans, though the project would still have 198 apartments and 38 townhomes surrounding it.

New proposal has shorter, three-story town homes (Photos: Pennsporter)

New proposal has shorter, three-story town homes (Photos: Pennsporter)

Gagan Lakhmna, attorney Richard DeMarco and architect/project manager Jeff DiRomaldo of Barton Partners told the Pennsport Civic Association that they were responding to neighbors’ concerns, especially about parking. They boosted the proposed number of spots from 137 to 210 – a nearly 1:1 parking space to unit ratio. The new design would include a two-story, 22-foot high interior parking structure that would be hidden by the surrounding homes.

The design also calls for shrinking the height of the townhomes from 44 feet to 36 feet. Each home would have a deeper ground floor and longer rear loading garages; a rear balcony above the deeper garage was also added.

The big green block in the middle is the proposed parking garage.

The big green block in the middle is the proposed parking garage.

The new proposal also eliminates the front loading garages (and the five separate curb cuts for each one) on the corner of 5th and Dickinson streets and calls for one large curb cut where residents will drive through to a small “auto-court” of seven spaces.

As for the town homes, each will have a roof deck and be constructed out of stucco, metal and “real brick.” The 2,500 square foot retail component on 4th Street remains as well. Lakhmna maintained he would call another meeting to get nearby-neighbors thoughts on potential uses for the space.

Overall, the attendees’ reaction was generally positive, reflecting that the development team had listened to neighbors’ concerns and adjusted their plans accordingly.

The previous design had four-story homes at 44 feet tall, not three-story 36-footers.

The previous design had these four-story homes at 44 feet tall, not three-story 36-footers.

Topographical map: town homes in yellow, demolition/new structures in green.

Topographical map: town homes in yellow, demolition/new structures in green.

If you want to see the proposal for yourself, the Dickinson Square West Civic Association will be holding a meeting regarding Mount Sinai tonight at Mount Moriah Temple Baptist Church (410 Wharton St.) at 7 p.m. The proposal for Mount Sinai goes before the Zoning Board on Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. at 1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor, Room 1802.

James Jennings is the founder of the blog Pennsporter — a site dedicated to exploring the neighborhood of Pennsport, Washington to Snyder, The River to Fourth.

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6 Responses to Revised Mt. Sinai proposal calls for shorter townhomes, more parking

  1. A January 28, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    This sounds like a win-win for everyone. I like it.

  2. Aaron B January 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    2 things:

    1. Is Pennsport really going to fall for Lakhmna’s bait the way Passyunk did?
    Latona Court anybody?
    Lakhmna pulled the old bait and switch: promised a two-phase project with a handful of market-rate townhouses, and a mansion for himself and family. Then after phase 1 was underway, came back and said “just kidding, phase 2 is gonna be townhouses also!”
    This is to say nothing of shoddy construction and no respect for neighbors during construction.

    I’m very skeptical that anything actually gets done with the hospital. My guess is that he’s planning to put in the townhouses, then walk away.

    2. By bundling parking with these apartments, you’re inviting car owners into the neighborhood. The way to improve the parking situation is by encouraging non-car owners to move into the neighborhood. That means providing less expensive apartments (because the price doesn’t have to subsidize parking).

    Always with the damn parking, and always making the wrong decisions.

    • Dan P. January 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

      Keep fighting the good parking fight! Agree with you that this new design invites way too many cars into the neighborhood. It’s not just about what happens to the cars when they’re not in use, it’s also having 210 additional cars (as opposed to 137 which is still a lot) driving on the streets of that area.

      I, too, will be curious to see what eventually gets built there.

    • Pennsporter January 28, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

      While the car parking situation did increase, the original proposal did call for parking for 80 bicycles and two car share spots.

      Assuming the apartment phase gets built, it will be up to the occupants whether they want a car or not. Neighbor’s did ask if they could lease parking spots in the garage. Lakhmna mentioned that spaces could potentially be leased to people outside the complex, if there were spaces available and the management company was in favor.

      Parking is always at the forefront. Remember there is also a commercial aspect in this proposal that could make use of some of the parking.

      Honestly, unless it was an open green space, I’m not sure what else could really go in that large interior area besides a parking lot/garage.

  3. LatonaCourtOwner January 28, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    I’m going to say it only once. Be careful what you wish for!

  4. Krissy February 2, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

    While this is better than before, it’s doubtful that people living in this complex will have just one car per unit. There are houses on my block with 6-7 people living in them, each with a car. It’s going to impact everyone in the neighborhood who drives.

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