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New plan for 43rd and Baltimore includes 132 condos/apartments, stone panels and a fitness center

March 27, 2014

4224 Baltimore Ave 2

The revised plan for 4224 Baltimore Avenue unveiled last night includes two sections – one five and one eight stories – a large restaurant facing Clark Park and a retail fitness center.

Property developers looking to build a residential complex with commercial space that would include a large restaurant and retail fitness club at 43rd and Baltimore (across from Clark Park) unveiled a revised proposal to about 75 residents last night and received mostly positive feedback.

The meeting was the first airing of the plan before the Spruce Hill Community Association’s zoning committee, whose job is to gather public input and make recommendations on everything from the type of retailers that are pursued to landscaping, lighting and building materials. Since the plan needs zoning variances to include retail and more stories than currently is permitted, it must go through the neighborhood and city zoning process.

Similar plans were the subject of several public meetings over the summer.

The glass, brick and stone panel building would include 132 mostly one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and condos aimed at young professionals from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), many of whom now live in Center City.

“It should be something that is friendly and broken up,” said architect Cecil Baker of the building which would use Nichiha exterior panels.

The plan drew some complaints that the building was out of character with the nearby Victorian homes.

“Our opinion is that you build with the technology of today, not to build something today that tries to look like it’s from 200 years in the past,” said developer and Spruce Hill resident Omar Blaik (whose U3 Ventures is working on the plan for the property owner).

Others complained that the neighborhood does not need more apartments.

“We do not need more high density housing in this neighborhood,” said one resident.

Concerns were also voiced about the large trees on the property. A plan on which trees would be saved will be available soon, the developers said.

Informal talks have begun with retailers to find tenants for the 17,000 feet of commercial space, which will likely include a large fitness center and a full-service restaurant with outdoor seating facing Clark Park along 43rd Street. Other retail options include a a dry cleaner. Blaik said Penn’s Vet School has expressed interest in opening a space that would be for a “neighborhood use.”

The plan includes 65 underground parking spaces and 50 indoor bike parking spaces.

Like the plan proposed this summer, the newest plan includes two connected sections. One, along 43rd Street, would be mostly owner-occupied condos. The section further east on Baltimore, which would be taller and include the first-floor 10,000-square-foot fitness center, would be apartments.

When pressed for likely rental and purchase prices, Blaik said condos would likely be in around $450 per square foot and apartment rentals would be between $1,700 and $2,000 per month.

“The question is, does that market exist in West Philadelphia?,” Blaik said. “We don’t know yet.”

The project grew out of a concern that the property owners, the Clarkmore Group, might build a “by right” residential complex that did not include retail or parking, which is permitted under current zoning. Some residents believe the threat of a possibly ugly project there is being used to scare residents into accepting the current project. “By right” projects are those that do not seek zoning variances if things like retail or parking are not permitted.

But Blaik and SHCA zoning chair Barry Grossbach assured residents that many similar projects in the neighborhood that were built “by right” used very little creativity or community input.

“More and more we have developers coming into this neighborhood saying to us, ‘we are going to do what we can as a matter of right because we don’t want to go through your zoning process,” Grossbach said.

The next step will be an SHCA zoning report based on the conceptual drawings released during Wednesday’s meeting. If the plan passes through the formal zoning process, which will require more detailed drawings and blueprints, construction would take 18-24 months, Blaik said.

More details on the proposals will be available here. – Mike Lyons

4224 Baltimore 1

 

62 Comments For This Post

  1. Jessica Says:

    The people who want to build a bunch of fake Victorian houses to retain the “character” of the neighborhood are being absurd. Do you know what those types of projects end up looking like? Obviously fake Victorian houses that make the whole area look like some kind of theme park. Mixed era design can add interest and character to a neighborhood if done right, but creative input is likely to be ignored if people keep obsessing over the fact that it doesn’t look, what, like those Victorian houses with ugly brick build outs that plague that region of Baltimore Ave?

  2. anon Says:

    this is some ugly yuppie ass garbage. if they start doing this to my neighborhood im moving

  3. Thatguy Says:

    @anon, Please don’t move! There won’t be any locals in the neighborhood if everyone moved out due to Penn and the interlopers… it would be a dream come true for them! The city didn’t care about us until someone they wanted around moved in. It’s happening in every block of the city. Even worse in South Philly. Folks down there are red hot about the yuppies taking over and trashing their hood. At least our neighborhood still have a chance until values price us all out.

  4. Travis Says:

    I’m a renter and my family and I are currently looking for another apartment and you’d be surprised how difficult it is to find a place. So: Yes!, we certainly do need more apartments. Exciting too that there will be condos for folks who want to purchase but don’t want one of the massive structures that make up most of the housing stock.

  5. Meg Says:

    Can those people who work for HUP and CHOP just stay in Center City please?

  6. Locust Street Says:

    @Anon. I’m curious about your phrase “my neighborhood.” How long have you lived here? How vested are you in the place? Maybe you can help me understand the reasoning that would make somebody up and leave a place they value because an apartment building is going up.

  7. Locust Street Says:

    @Meg. OMG! I know, nurses are the worst neighbors.

  8. Hi Says:

    I live directly across Baltimore Ave. from the site and I love looking out my window at the trees there. I am moving from my apartment as soon as my rent is up due to this construction. Not because I am against a building being put there (its an empty lot in a nice area of the city and I agree with progression) but because of the construction outside my house. I love the area and have lived here for 3 years but this will make me leave

  9. Nurse Jackie Says:

    Would staff from Presby or Mercy be acceptable?
    Asking for a friend.

  10. TMills Says:

    I’m with anon on this one. It is our neighborhood. So all of you moving in and trying to stake claim to what was once its charm; Why not move to Manayunk or is that not ‘hip’ ebough for you anymore?

    The charm was natural…now it is a freaking novelty.

    For the record – I’ve been there since the 80’s and it is MY/OUR neighborhood.

  11. Foreigner Says:

    Just so we’re all clear: what’s the cutoff for length of residency to establish that the neighborhood is one’s own?

    I’ve been here since 2001, which I’m pretty sure DOESN’T count, yet sometimes I have these confusing feelings of belonging and being attached to the place.

  12. TG Says:

    Damn. That is one ugly design. Do the people to come up with this crap actually have any knowledge of the neighborhood into which they want to build this? Because this style doesn’t belong there. Why is it so difficult to try to fit your design into the historical feel of a neighborhood? Must you come in and shove your ridiculous and trashy modern aesthetic into arguably one of the most special neighborhoods in the country?

  13. Kirk Says:

    It looks like some new Ikea product.

  14. Clarence Howard Clark, Sr. Says:

    I am the realist person here, since I have been here since the 1860s when “the bowl” was a pond and all your houses weren’t yet a gleam in my Victorian-inspired developer’s eye. That park, “Clark” across the street is my donation, thank you very much. As a developer myself, I cannot stand in the way of this progress. If you want to call me a yuppie, fine, but I prefer “one of the most prominent men of my day” as the New York Times described me, and as my Wikipedia page continues to affirm. Was I, like some Fresh Prince, in West Philadelphia born and raised? Nay. I was born in Rhode Island. If a buggy cab came near, I might have said, “Yo holmes to my 34-room mansion named Chestnutwold at 4200 Locust” (or formerly my mansion … now PAS.) Oh, cursed march of Time. Why can’t thy stop! I died in 1906, yet 100 years later, some things appear to have changed! Why oh why! Drum circle at the Dickens at 3:30 to reminisce of days of yore and compare West Philly resumes.

  15. Locust Street Says:

    @TMills. You’re with anon? Does that mean you’re leaving also?

    This neighborhood has all kinds of people in it. Some were born here (my son, for example). Most found their way here later in life. Many more come for a couple years and head out to put down roots — or not — elsewhere. This neighborhood, any neighborhood, doesn’t belong any one group. All of these people have a stake in this place and probably have their own vision of what they want it to be. So, you can show up at meetings, speak your mind, invest money if you have the means, time if you don’t, get to know your neighbors new and old, and try your best to make it the neighborhood you want it to be. Or you know, complain in comments section and skip town when a new apartment complex is proposed.

  16. James Walton Says:

    Meg Whateveryourlastnameis – My mother was employed as a pediatric nurse by CHOP for 30 years, during which time she purchased and lovingly restored an 1890s Victorian home. Would she fit into your simple-minded view of an ideal Spruce Hill community? Kind Regards, James Walton

  17. TMills Says:

    @Locust Street. Nah…I’m staying. I love my house and neighborhood. I’ll just continue to scare the new kids 😉

  18. EN Says:

    This is the sort of apartment building design that could fit in with the neighborhood. http://www.cecilbakerpartners.com/projects/locust-walk-at-washington-square/

    Not the monstrosity they came up with. So sad.

  19. Dan Shurley Says:

    Although I oppose this project on the grounds that none of the units will be affordable, I agree with several commenters that the reactionary energy against this project could be channeled into a more positive direction.
    Like actually restoring the Victorian housing stock, or advocating for affordable units in the bargain when luxury apartments are being proposed by prospectors like Omar Blaik. To anti-gentrification purists those two suggestions may seem to contradict one another–so be it.

    Spruce Hill has its Painted Ladies but it is a far, far cry from Bernal Heights or the Castro, i.e. it is still relatively affordable for a number of reasons; paranoia and parochialism should not be among those reasons.

  20. Andy L. Says:

    The slides from last night give a sense of some of the evolution of this project and are now posted under the “Alternative Plans” tab here: http://4224baltimore.com/

  21. These Comments Make My Lunch Break Says:

    But if you all leave, who will be left to make hysterical comments (ha-ha and sky is on fire) on West Philly Local?

  22. bw Says:

    too many whiners here. if you dont like it, maybe you shouldve paid a few million for the lot. cant complain about parking anymore (its underground). cant complain about crappy retail (fitness center is a great addition to the area and a documented desire).

    oh yea, one last thing – please stay away young professionals. we dont want you to spend your high incomes in our neighborhood because that would be terrible for local business.

  23. Mary Says:

    Jessica, I don’t recall any of our neighbors asking the developers of 4224 to erect “a bunch of fake Victorian houses”. I assume that you are not deliberately misrepresenting some of the remarks criticizing the proposed project as a poor fit for the neighborhood, but are just unaware of a fundamental principle of urban design: that an infill-type construction demonstrate sensitivity to the existing architectural context through a careful consideration of size, mass, and both the choice and quality of materials. This in no way promotes a “faux”-anything design and most certainly DOES NOT argue against a contemporary, even avant-garde design. This principle is actually partially codified in our current zoning law under the Civic Design Review section. The CDR committee has as its charge to examine whether a proposed “design reinforces and protects the desirable characteristics of the surrounding neighborhoods.” U3’s architect, Cecil Baker, happens to be a member of this committee. Of course, he will recuse himself from the CDR consideration of 4224, but I have to chuckle at how he might react to this design, if it were submitted by another architect. There is no doubt that he was somewhat embarrassed by the northeast aspect of the building, which he sheepishly referred to as “modest”, but which I think we can all agree just looked cheap.

  24. 44xxlocust Says:

    Anyone who is blind to this being a giant gentrification project, probably has a boat load of money themselves. Yuppies want to move here because it is “laid back and hip” but by installing projects like this will mean the neighborhood will quickly be out of the price range of the people that create that vibe. The developers want to create a building that looks and feels different than the neighborhood and attracts a different group of residents with a larger income. It doesn’t matter how long you have lived in the neighborhood, if you can’t see how that is gentrification than you are part of the problem. We don’t need yuppie money in West Philly.

  25. Clarence Howard Clark, Sr. Says:

    Yuppies go home!

    Sent from iPhone

  26. Handsome Pete Says:

    Super. Nothing like seeing the same out of place designs that plague the New Look Northern Liberties right in my back yard.

  27. idizzle Says:

    @44xxlocust: “Laid back and hip” is code for white and “not as scary as the 80s.” The condos are a continuation of the same gentrification that makes the “laid back and hip” crowd live here in the first place. Don’t pretend that you or the West Philly hipsters are any more authentic than the ones that will be buying those condos. The gentrifiers aren’t coming, they are already here.

  28. Korgull the Exterminator Says:

    Hey, all of you people pissing and moaning on line, where were you last night? Oh, I see. You’re soooooo concerned about ugly apartments but you can’t be bothered to actually discuss the changes with the people who are making the decisions. Pathetic. And for all of you who are “threatening” to move, please do. Within a few years your ‘hood will revert back to its natural state. Ghetto.

  29. SJ Says:

    I just wish it weren’t so BIG, that it were a bit more subtle, even if it’s modern, and I wish that there were more of the original trees there. Maybe they’ll add the trees back in.

  30. roscoe Says:

    Jessica (1st commenter), I like the way you think. We should be friends.

    People who are such proponents of the ‘Victorian’ character. Look around the neighborhood and you will find hundreds of decrepit, abused Victorian twins falling apart and/or so chopped up and poorly rehabbed as to be unrecognizable. If you think they are so important to the neighborhood, why are you not fixing them up? Buildings literally falling to pieces are more damaging to the character of the neighborhood and your property values than a brand new and maintained condo construction.

    I’m also tired of all the prejudice against single people and young professional couples. Do you know something? Not everyone has a family of 4 to 6 people. A lot of us live by ourselves or with one partner. We won’t want or need a three story house that is impossible to heat and cool, has a ridiculous pit of a ‘yard’, and basically wastes space and ruins the environment. We need places to live, too, and the market should provide it. This fantasy of the nuclear family with the 2 car garage died 30+ years ago. Urban density is the present and the future.

    This is America. Not everyone has to like what you like. I don’t expect everyone to like what I like. Get over it. Stop claiming the city to be your own. We share this place.

  31. Kim Woodbridge Says:

    “Others complained that the neighborhood does not need more apartments.”

    These people can’t possibly be renters because decent apartments are not easy to find. Or maybe they only want homeowners in the neighborhood …

    Not thrilled with the design but it’s not horrible either.

  32. Patrick Says:

    Nasty ugly. Little Nell is weeping.

  33. Steven Says:

    Wow how fantastic. Another series of condos almost no one can actually afford.

    No surprise if Philly turns into Detroit.

  34. 44xxlocust Says:

    @idizzle – your lack of nuance regarding gentrification would be laughable if it wasn’t so prevalent. Treating poor artists and punks with as much blame, with regard to gentrification, as a developer, who clearly benefits from transforming the makeup of a neighborhood, is ridiculous. I believe that many of these punks and artists are very aware of their ability to be used as pawns in the gentrification game which makes it all the more their (my) responsibility to stop it.

  35. GroJLart Says:

    All you NIMBYs seem to forget that ugly mid-20th century buildings stand both north and west of this site. Do they take away from your precious neighborhood character? That said, this design is kind of crud.. but don’t worry, foolish NIMBYS… U3 ventures barely gets anything built.

  36. Guest Worker Says:

    @4XXX Locust– gentrification? This area is already gentrified for all intents and purposes. Don’t believe me? Try buying a house in this neighborhood.

  37. GroJLart Says:

    Derp, I meant South and East of this site there are already ugly Mid-20th Century buildings.

  38. Get Real Says:

    Many of the comments here conveniently ignore the realities of zoning regulation, what it takes to make good urban places that will succeed and how to work constructively(instead if destructively) move toward a more economically sustainable and smart neighborhood. I am glad you are not in charge. I think the size and massing is ok. I think the idea of a contemporary building makes sense but the facade design needs to be better than this. I think the urban design choices related to retail, open space and community amenities are worth the extra apartments it will take to make the economics of the project work. Smart plan..more work on the facades.

  39. Strongforu Says:

    While I don’t know what the correct answer is; there’s something about this projuect that deeply saddens me. As an architectural buff, I find nothing exciting about this building. I’m also deeply concerned at the lack of parking spaces. The builder should be required, at minimum, to provide a parking space for each unit and multiple spaces for the tenants. Where would the restaurant and fitness center patrons from outside the neighborhood park? In front of my house?

  40. idizzle Says:

    @44xxlocust- If by nuance you mean justifying earlier gentrifiers because they are not as bad as later gentrifiers, then sure, I lack nuance. I’m against this development, its gawdy and will contribute to the rising rent in the neighborhood, which is no good for me; I live here. I’m also against the people that pretend that they belong to the “real” West Philly while others do not, especially since those “artists and punks” contributed to earlier rises in property values and rents that pushed out many of the black communities that called West Philly home before that. It was that demographic shift that helped make it possible for these developers to come in in the first place. Gentrification in West Philly has a long trajectory that you ignore by acting as if it has just arrived with this condo. Ignoring that trajectory is the only way you can make a claim to being the authentic West Philly person when, in reality, the “real” West Philly doesn’t exist anywhere before 51st st. Get off your high horse.

  41. Tony West Says:

    Several thoughts about several comments.

    Get over “gentrification.” The starving artists & radicals of the 1970s were themselves gentrifiers in their own way. It is true they helped jump-start the process. Too late for them to disown it now! Their role today is to sweep west of 50th St & work their magic once more. Please invite me to their parties!

    I did attend last night’s mtg. as well as most of last summer’s U3 community mtgs. I’m on Friends of Clark Park’s board. We are an RCO & are obliged to weigh in on this development. We hated the build-by-right alternative. We asked U3 to stress 4 park-supportive components of their plan; they have incorporated all of them.

    On Aug. 22, 2012, a new zoning code went into effect for the City of Philadelphia. Voted on by all citizens. These are the consequences: no longer can neighbors jawbone every zoning variance to death, extracting infinite concessions & design tweaks on what goes up on each vacant lot. Build-by-right is a reality; if you don’t like bare-bones modern structures, you must work with developers in partnership & sweet-talk them into prettifying their projects, because they don’t have to listen to you at all.

    The market around USciences & Penn calls demands housing for the boom in students & lab rats. That’s what developers want to develop; it’s a cheap, quick, guaranteed formula. We cannot stop it. We must combat it aikido-style: harness its own energy & coax it into becoming better than it needs to be.

    I support this building because it makes an effort, & because we actually can dialog with a friendly neighborhood developer instead of a cool out-of-town speculator. This is our best shot, I believe. Do not kid yourself that if you sneer at U3’s work, someone else will come along & build something that will please you more.

  42. Tony West Says:

    A 1:1 parking:unit formula is unrealistic. It would drive the cost of a rental unit or combo way above what anyone will pay for a W Philly address at this time. Also, this location is served by several convenient SEPTA lines; the site is 15 mn away from City Hall. It *should* be developed for transit-lovers, not car-lovers. I’m at peace with U3’s ratio, which is around 1:3 I think.

  43. 44xxlocust Says:

    @idizzle – last comment on this from me. Don’t put words in my mouth. Never said a thing about being “real” West Philly. Seems like you are the one that is so sure about what that means. I didn’t ignore my part in the long history of gentrification, in fact I said something to point out my place in it. Simplifying this argument to two options A. gentrifier or B. “real West Philly” is the type of rhetoric that keeps people from creating a diverse yet united front to take on money hungry development companies.

  44. DTurner Says:

    Agreed with GroJLart on this. Also, folks realize that those spacious Victorians they’re living in were not affordable housing back in the day, right?

    As Philly finally starts pulling back more wealthy and educated folks back in to its borders, these accessible and formerly wealthy sections of town are going to become attractive once again.

    Will the character of the current Baltimore Ave be lost? Probably in part, but it will likely mean that the improvements will spread further down Baltimore Ave.

  45. Dan Shurley Says:

    @Tony West So basically you’re saying, Cozy up to power, since the powerful will inevitably prevail? Unfortunately agreeing with the developer and associating yourself with power won’t give you any actual power. The developer behind the scenes (Clarkmore / Thylan) is doing aikido on you, and they’re using U3 to accomplish it. U3 is involved because they and Clarkmore believe a zoning variance would add significant additional value to their joint project. Those speculative profits? Will some of that go into maintaining the park? Shouldn’t the city get something in return for the value they’re creating by allowing the variance? I’m not talking about a facade facelift or so-called community amenities like a private gym–I’m talking about affordable housing, something with an actual public benefit…

  46. Arwin Says:

    EN’s link makes me hopefully that there can be new construction that doesn’t look weird. Why the resistance to brick, architects? Fingers crossed 4224 design evolves into something less glassy.

    And some of us didn’t attend Wednesday’s meeting because we have standing commitments on Wednesdays. It seems to be a popular night.

  47. idizzle Says:

    @44xxlocust: Rereading the comments I think we are on the same side. Sorry for taking my frustrations out on you. They were probably better directed at others. I hope I run into you at a bar sometime, I’ll buy you a city special.

  48. Meg Says:

    @James Walton: In this post, it states that they are trying to draw people who work for CHOP & HUP who currently live in Center City. I’m obviously not calling out people who work for CHOP & HUP, as my mom was a nurse who was born & raised in West Philly. I’m just saying that there’s no need to bring people who are willing to pay high rent in Center City out to West Philly. Let’s keep housing affordable in West Philly. We don’t need more of the Center City prices.

  49. Thomas Taggart Says:

    Tony West is making the most sense and the best points.

  50. mr nelson Says:

    I have been to all the community meetings thus far regarding this construction- And i have to say the building that Cecil and his associates presented was not architecture but a farce (particularly the view from the east.) And I have seen more intelligible, more concrete elevation drawings done by undergrads. I am not against intelligent “modern” (if such a term has any validity anymore) design-but I believe there is a false binary between “modern” glass sheathed structures and “retro-classic” re-citations such as the faux Georgian style townhouses that are currently being built on west south street. Good design can and should transcend such stereotypes. Unfortunately, this false binary makes it impossible for anyone to have an intelligent conversation about design-such simple mindedness was on full display at Wednesday’s meeting.
    But for all of those who are upset by the plans for this building, we need to remind ourselves that this would never have been a possibility if our neighborhood had better historic designations. All of us who are concerned about the unique historic character of our neighborhood need to sprout some teeth so that it is no longer so easy for an outside development firm (Thyllan) to buy an historic property in order to demolish it so that they can redevelop it how and when they see fit (it has been at least five years now). There needs to be a concerted effort to historically designate spruce Hill or this will keep happening.

  51. Tony West Says:

    Dan Shurley wants this development to maximally sustain Clark Park. That is exactly what Friends of Clark Park is working toward! Anyone may join in our effort; Dan can join tomorrow. Email me at anthony.abbott.west@gmail.com; everyone will be welcome to pitch in alongside every other neighbor in FoCP’s councils. If you speak, you will be heard.

    There already is affordable housing just off Clark Park, 1/2 block west of 45th St on Woodland. That’s not the housing need around the park right now. The top housing need is the obvious explosion of eds-&-meds workers. That’s what’s going to happen, like it or not.

    I opposed historic designation for University City in the controversy ~2003. So I was on the other side from Mr Nelson.

    If that had passed, we simply couldn’t handle the influx of these young workers now, who don’t make much money but are not poor – & cannot plan to stick around for more than a few years. Off-campus neighborhoods must be transient-tolerant. Let us accept our fate, then – but do it right.

  52. Anon Says:

    If you want affordable housing, you call up your elected officials and demand it. They are the gatekeepers to the grants that make affordable housing projects possible, not private developers.

    Here are the federal and state officials for zip code of 4224 Baltimore Avenue:
    http://www.commoncause.org/siteapps/advocacy/search.aspx?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4860375

  53. Tony West Says:

    The pool of “affordable-housing” development grants has shrunk at both the state & federal level, & it is unlikely soon to return. The city is full of low-income neighborhoods that compete for what dollars remain.

    In everyday life, there is plenty of affordable housing in Philadelphia. Five blocks SW of Clark Park, out Woodland & Chester Aves., there are miles of neighborhoods of old 2-story rowhomes. Low-income people typically don’t get to drive new cars or live in new homes. Those neighborhoods are hollowing out as residents move out & abandoned homes crumble. Affordable-development grants should go where land is cheap, as they will buy more units that way.

    The most-urgent need for affordable construction is not in the inner city, but in the suburbs. That’s where the jobs are these days. Low-wage workers at the King of Prussia Mall shouldn’t have to commute from Kingsessing.

    What the city needs most urgently, by contrast, is *more middle-class residents ASAP*. That’s for the sake of the poor! If Washington won’t do it & Harrisburg won’t do it, then Philadelphia must tax itself to provide the poor with what they need. But we can’t do much if we don’t have middle-class & affluent residents to tax! Turning into a great big Chester or Camden is not the answer.

    That’s why gentrification, one way or another, is a moral imperative for those who wish to help our city’s poor.

  54. Dan Shurley Says:

    I agree with Mr. Nelson’s aesthetic critique, but I don’t think historic designation is the right approach for U. City. Elsewhere we’ve seen how it freezes neighborhoods and makes them more exclusive over time, and for the reason Tony West offers, that historically designated places can’t absorb new people as readily as undesignated places.

    Tony: I appreciate the gesture, and your pragmatism seems reasonable, but I must disagree. Readers of this paper will have learned that the Cedar Park neighborhood saw the biggest rent increase in the entire city in the past 10 years! That means there is a demand to live here, that we’ve got a good thing going on, but it should also be cause for a little concern. Our “off-campus” neighborhoods are still affordable, but for how long? Why bend over backwards to accommodate a very upwardly mobile, definitely not poor, transient population? You’re putting far too much faith in large institutions that have grown explosively on the backs of indebted students, a bubble if there ever was one.

  55. Tony West Says:

    Dan’s skepticism about the “ed bubble” is shrewd. I hope I share it as sharply as he.

    The battle for Cedar Park was over as of 2010, according to US Census data. By that date, your neighborhood had already entered a new era.

    The reason why we should accommodate changing economies & not try to live in the past, is because what healthy cities do best is adapt.

    The folks who work in University City have a right to live here. It’s better for the rest of us if we don’t attempt to exile them, but rather find ways to bring them in.

  56. lawrence Says:

    Sorry tony. I would love to believe you, but this eds and meds thing can only go so far when most “professionals” are leaving grad school (law school/ medical school) with crippling dept (my brother has over a 100 thousand dollar debt from his education). The notion that a lot of these professionals are going to be clammering to buy these overpriced units or pay the overpriced rents is pretty laughable. The kind of person that would want to spend that amount of money is going to rather live downtown (sorry but its true). Of course that isn’t the case for all of them, but certainly a large portion. IF these units do move it will most likely be older empty nesters trying to downsize (as stated in the community meeting). It seems that middle aged people have this assumption that current day young professionals are flushed with cash, more like saddled by debt.

  57. Tony West Says:

    At the meeting, U3 Ventures stated their intention is to price the units for ~15% below Center City rates. There is also a market in this neighborhood for professional owners & renters; not everyone who now lives on 43rd St is a grad student.

  58. Leon Says:

    Let them have 4224 Baltimore–there, in stratified self-exile they can enjoy all the amenities they want. It will take the pressure off of the Cedar Park neighborhood.

  59. nb8 Says:

    Clarence Howard Clark, Sr: You sir, have won the Internet!

  60. Thatguy Says:

    @nb8 sadly I fear it won’t take the pressure off of the Cedar Park neighborhood. or anything west of it. This is the long planned takeover. I’ve watched it since the early 80’s when everyone said it would slow down. It did for a spell; now it’s back for the final push. I’ve watched a lot of great homeowners get pushed out due to increased cost of living. I feel the broom at my back already.

  61. Wild Turkey Says:

    I agree with much of what Tony West has said. My ONLY objection to the proposed construction is that it is ugly as sh*t. I love modern architecture, but Jeebus H. something better could have been proposed. I live near the corner of 43rd st & Balt and will be staring at this from my porch for the rest of my days (letting that sink in as I type…). Hey maybe there’ll be some sweet binocular action to look forward to.

  62. Jan Says:

    Has anything been said about whether or not the condos will be pet friendly?








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