25 Townhomes Replacing Cabinet Warehouse on 600 block of McClellan
By Sequoia Medley for the Passyunk Post
The September 12th meeting of the East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association’s Zoning Committee was more crowded than usual. Neighbors overflowed the available seating at the East Passyunk Community Center. Although another property was discussed, most were there to see the presentation about the redevelopment of the north side of the 600 block of McClellan Street.
This much-anticipated project proposes to replace the cabinet warehouse currently located along the north side of the 600 block of Moore Street to allow for the construction of 25 single-family townhouses. Developer Kumas Homes also has plans to build multi-family units on Moore Street, but this presentation focused expressly on the McClellan Street section of the property.
View of the warehouse on the south side of the 600 block of McClellan, looking east. Google Maps.
Future view. Provided by CANNOdesign.
Designs by CANNOdesign show running-bond brick facades with metal canopies over the entry doors. Aluminum-sided pilot houses allow access to roof decks with metal railings. The facades alternate from light gray/tan to darker red brick.
This was the third time the developer met with the community. Two prior information-gathering sessions helped inform the plans presented. As in previous meetings, parking was a primary focus of the discussion. During their presentation the developers repeatedly pointed out design features that were direct responses to feedback from the neighbors, including:
- Elimination of curb cuts, creating 5 additional on-street parking spots on the block
- Provision of up to two private parking spaces per new residence accessed by a shared-drive aisle which will bisect the block, running east/west from 6th to 7th Streets
- No gate on the driveway
- A dedicated trash room for each residence
The project requires zoning variances since the developer hopes to create one lot rather than 25 separate parcels, in part to provide the parking in the rear. Owners of these row homes will be part of a homeowners association which will maintain the parking area. A variance is also required since the parking spaces eliminate the required rear yard.
The developer stressed their good-faith efforts to listen and respond to the community since, ‘by-right’ they could make a number of different design choices. One concession to neighbors is the recent removal of towing signs to free-up parking on the block. Although some disagreed with the very nature of the development, many neighbors expressed support for the project.
In response to the desire for more greening, the properties will feature green roofs, as well as planting spaces in the front of the buildings. Developers also agreed to donate land on the 700 block of Emily Street to preserve a community garden used by residents of the area’s Burmese and Bhutanese community.
Many neighbors voiced sadness at the potential loss of the “Language Labs” mural by artist Shira Walinksky. Located on the 7th Street side of the property, the colorful mural was completed in 2015 as part of the Southeast by Southeast project. The developer is in discussion with Mural Arts about possibilities of preserving the public art, or creating another work at the site.
Practical concerns about debris remediation during demolition were addressed, as well as the potential impact on SEPTA’s 47 bus route.
Although support for the project among attendees was mixed, a majority of those present voted in favor of the project. The EPX Civic Zoning Committee board also voted in favor of the project.
If approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA), the developers hope to start work in three to six months. 20-days notice will be provided to neighbors before demolition begins.
This project will go before the ZBA on Wednesday, September 19th between 2pm and 5pm. Zoning hearings are open to the public to advocate for or against the project. ZBA meetings are held on the 18th floor of 1515 Arch Street.
EPX Zoning Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month at the East Passyunk Community Center, 1025 Mifflin Street.