Zoning proposals: Another restaurant adjacent to Clarkville; bakery on 4300 block of Spruce

October 14, 2016


The first floor of the residential building connected to the left side of Clarkville at 43rd and Baltimore would be converted into a restaurant under a proposal considered last night by the Spruce Hill Zoning Association (Photo from Google Street View).

The Spruce Hill Community Association considered a proposal last night to convert the first floor of the row home adjacent to Clarkville at 43rd and Baltimore into a small restaurant amid concerns from some neighbors of commercial encroachment in residential areas.

Brought by the owners of the Clarkville building (not the business itself), the proposal for 4303 Baltimore includes an 1,100-square-foot restaurant on the first floor and renovated, high-end apartments on the second and third floors. In the past, the building housed three apartments, but is in rough shape, said Tom Lussenhop of Best House Partners, the building owners since May.

The proposal requires a variance for the first-floor restaurant, which has yet to be decided on (they’re open to suggestions). It will not have a liquor license. 

“Something not already offered on Baltimore,” Lussenhop said.

In the zoning application, Best House Partners called Baltimore Avenue a “burgeoning commercial corridor,” which bothered some residents concerned that the conversion to a restaurant on a mostly residential block would encourage more commercial development on the street.

“What’s to keep it from turning into a Dunkin’ Donuts?” asked one resident.

Zoning committee chair Barry Grossbach said, if approved, the variance would have restrictions.

“Should this move forward I can assure you that there will be stipulations about what can and cannot go in there,” he said.

Residents who live near 44th and Spruce vocally opposed a zoning proposal for an artisan bakery/café on the first floor of the stone building on the north side of Spruce next to the Bottle Shop at Local 44.

A couple of residents on the block opposed a similar proposal in 2013 and it was rejected by the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment, despite support from residents in the area.

This proposal is basically exactly the same – they even used the same blueprints – and drew criticism from the same residents on the south side of Spruce who said they are concerned about the commercial spaces on 44th Street creeping around the corner.

“I love fresh bread, but not on Spruce Street,” said one resident.

Mike Lyons

20 Comments For This Post

  1. DMB Says:

    Did anybody watch that show, Smallville? It’s about Clark Kent as a young man; almost a development of Superman’s backstory. Really interesting. Clarkville.

  2. Phil Walton Says:

    I guess there are just not enough boxwood cages to crowd out pedestrians. And how do you keep the vermin and cooking odors out of apartments that are above restaurants?

  3. Ben Says:

    God forbid we have some progress over there. I don’t usually go to bakeries but I’m okay with one there. The house there had been in a deplorable state for a long time. Same with the pizza place they took over.

    I don’t really like their pizza/prices but I’m glad its there for the people who do or the couple of times a year I may go.

    Some more walkable businesses only makes it a better place to live.

  4. bw Says:

    is this a late night bakery?? c’mon people

  5. DMB Says:

    Did someone say cannolis? (not a joke)

  6. goldenmonkey Says:

    Who actually permanently lives at 44th & Spruce? Those are all rentals and apartments.

    And like it or not, Baltimore is a commercial corridor. What’s going on with the proposed building across from Green Line? That’s another Tom Lussenhop deal btw.

  7. DMB Says:

    Who does Lussenhop think he is, Costanza?

  8. goldenmonkey Says:

    Looks like my reading comprehension is suffering: the article clearly says it’s residents on the southern side of Spruce. That said, most of those properties are rentals.

  9. ChessandCheckers Says:

    Spruce Street is in desperate need of something between the stretch of 46th and 49th. Spruce Hill/Walnut Hill/Cedar Park could use a small casual dining restaurant NoBa. I know that Spruce Street is residential but nothing has really replaced the Philly Diner and a lot of us are tired of having to go to the Northeast to eat at a diner.

  10. Gentrifying Says:

    There is a wonderful dinner on 50th and Baltimore. There is a more traditional Greek style dinner on Baltimore Pike, about 3 miles past where Baltimore Ave turns into Baltimore Pike.

  11. ChessandCheckers Says:

    Ohh yes, I’ve been there. I believe it’s called the Emperor Diner. Actually that was pretty decent food, spacious and good service. I love spending a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon in a diner. You can feel the sunlight bouncing off all the tin and aluminum throught the large windows and it really slows time down. Thanks for the heads up.

  12. Corey Says:

    Cedar park cafe.

  13. huh? Says:

    The bakery is planned to be next door to a bar/restaurant and takeout beer place. What am I missing?

  14. Mary Says:

    ” huh? Says:
    October 19th, 2016 at 11:50 am

    The bakery is planned to be next door to a bar/restaurant and takeout beer place. What am I missing?”

    It’s not at street level like the businesses on 44th and the 2 businesses next to 4323. You have to come up onto to the property and probably have to enter where tenants do. Considering the entrance for the bakery isn’t at the sidewalk and that the tenants are paying a good chunk of money (not all are students), not sure that that would bring them any sense of safety or peace of mind. Also not sure I’d want a kitchen/ovens/delivery supplies right where I lived. Most of the other side of the street are homeowners. They don’t want it, period.

  15. DMB Says:

    Plus the smells!

  16. Corey Says:

    Heaven forbid. Who would want to deal with the aroma of fresh baked bread?

  17. Strongforu Says:

    I think this is a bad idea. Bad for the neighborhood and bad for the people that would live above the proposed restaurant.

  18. goldenmonkey Says:

    How is it bad for the neighborhood? A business will contribute jobs and tax dollars, which support our community and schools. For the record, the house is converted into rental apartments. Should a tenant have an issue with the bakery, he can move.

    FWIW, we live (and own) less than a block away on Spruce St and would gladly have another bakery nearby. And unless the complainants purchased their home recently, they should have the benefit of remembering when there was a nuisance bar across the street and count their blessings for the current state of affairs and development. Spruce on the whole is a commercial corridor.

  19. Strongforu Says:

    Bakeries attract rats because they must store wheat, flour and sugar on premises. We’ve been battling mice in the area for years, I’m not interested in fighting with their larger, more aggressive cousins.

  20. Anon Says:

    That’s cute you think West Philly doesn’t have rats already.

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