10-unit apartment building proposed for site of old Jehovah’s Witness hall

UPDATE: The developer agreed in November to eight apartments in the existing two stories, no parking, and alley improvements. Check the Passyunk Square civic’s zoning committee update here for a little more info.

A three-story apartment building has been proposed for 1235-37 Federal St., currently the site of a Jehovah’s Witness hall.

Both of these buildings would come down
Both of these buildings would come down

The plan was presented earlier this month to the Passyunk Square Civic Association zoning committee meeting, where neighbors heard that the developer would add a third floor to the existing two-story properties. Ten apartments (nine two-bedrooms and a one-bedroom unit) were proposed for the structure.

The information-only presentation was introduced by David Orphanides, zoning attorney for Rory Scerri-Marion at the Tierview Group as a way to get feedback from the community.

Orphanides explained that each unit would have its own roof deck. The first story would operate as a sort of garage — accommodating up to six cars with slanted parking spots accessed on Annin Street, as well as a bike racks and garbage area for tenant use. The apartments would be rented by City Wide Realty at market rate, which was cited at the meeting at being around $2,000/month.

You can see how far back the building goes - a lot of room to work with.
You can see how far back the building goes – a lot of room to work with.

Community member concerns ranged from parking woes – the 10 apartments could potentially add more than 10 additional vehicles to an area that already has a shortage of spaces – and the possibility that the increased height of the building would have an effect on the block. Orphanides agreed that a shadow study would be in order to determine the block’s current daylight condition and to find ways to minimize the new building’s effect on neighboring structures.

Although the plan has not received a formal zoning refusal, it is expected that the developer will return to present a revised plan at a future zoning meeting. To start, the PSCA Zoning Committee suggested that Orphanides and his team consider lowering the density of the building to accommodate fewer, but larger, apartments – possibly down from 10 to eight.

– Danielle Zimmerman

CORRECTION: Information about the make-up of the 10 apartments and the future use of the current building has been corrected from an earlier version.


2 thoughts on “10-unit apartment building proposed for site of old Jehovah’s Witness hall

  • October 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    The information is incorrect! The building will not be demolished rather be renovated and add a 3rd story which will be under the 38′ height requirement. The proposal will have 6 parking spaces and 9 (2) bed units and 1 (1) bed unit. This will also lower the density of the existing use which is currently a hall/ church/ gathering place which can house up to 190 people and has no parking requirement.
    Hopefully this board will see that the proposal would be an addition to the community

    • October 22, 2013 at 11:42 am

      You’re right, Jimmy. I’ll correct the post right now. Thanks for keeping us honest.

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