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ZBA needs more time to think about Blatstein’s Broad and Washington plans

On Wednesday, April 27, Bart Blatstein presented his Broad and Washington plans for a 32-story tower with a rooftop village and above-ground parking for 600 to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. From the start, there has been quite a bit of negativity surrounding this project. Residents have blasted the plans at community meetings, the Design Advocacy Group wrote an open letter about some of these “outdated urban design idea(s)” and the Inquirer’s architecture critic previously slammed the designs of both of Blatstein’s South Philly projects.

Blatstein Broad and Washington

So how did the project fare with the ZBA? Well, they need more time to think. For Blaststein to be able to build this massive “gateway” development, he needs two special exceptions granted by the ZBA. Yesterday they felt that Blatstein presented “excessive information” and will be taking two more weeks to decide if this project can move forward.

More from Philly Mag:

Blatstein is seeking two special exceptions from the zoning code to build 1,000 apartments and 625 parking spaces on the lot. At the hearing, community members objected to the project over a host of concerns, while zoning board chairman Jim Moylan tried to limit their comments to the two issues before the board: the above-ground parking garage and the retail uses on the roof deck. Steve Cobb, a lawyer in Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s office, also testified that Johnson is opposed to the project in its current form.

Unlike Blatstein’s development, the plans for Lincoln Square on the other side of Broad Street have been moving along quite smoothly, with more positive feedback from the community.

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6 Responses to ZBA needs more time to think about Blatstein’s Broad and Washington plans

  1. Rachel April 28, 2016 at 10:14 am #

    Am I the only one who thinks this looks fine? Maybe my standards are too low.

    • spf5000 April 28, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

      Yes, your standards are too low. This type of development failed in Communist East Berlin and it will fail here, too. No one will walk up to the fourth floor to go shopping. No one will enjoy the traffic that 625 new parking spaces and a giant truck loading dock will bring to the area. This design is a major bait and switch. It is a casino design, pretending to be a big box retailer. Casinos and big box retailers notoriously bring down the safety of the streets around them, because they are too big and have very few entrances. The ground floor street frontage should be a row small retail shops. Or perhaps a few multi-story department stores. An array of entrances will enliven the entire block. Bart’s design is a gateway alright, a gateway to dismal land.

  2. SoCrisp April 28, 2016 at 10:33 am #

    I think the 4th floor retail is weird as hell, and isn’t going to work. The rest of it is fine. It’s the corner of a huge intersection – something huge should go there.

  3. Ian April 28, 2016 at 11:27 am #

    I’m OK with huge, in fact I wish it still had 2 towers.

    I think a lot of people’s problems are more with the separation from the street with the walls of the parking garage. Also a 4th story village isn’t integration (even including the one big staircase addition) its just a throw away idea from the failed casino bid.

  4. ProvWitout April 28, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

    I hope the basketball court, wherever it goes, is an adult sized court with either collegiate or pro distance 3 point lines. I also hope there is a place to park for when I’m coming from somewhere other than my house to go there. I could take the subway if I leave from home. But some serious indoor basketball courts are much needed in South Philly and this idea had/has that potential!

    • Dave C. May 2, 2016 at 4:14 am #

      Basketball court? Enlighten us. Where can indoor ball be played now? I live right around the corner from here.

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