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Post Bros. place Garden Court Plaza plan on hold, hopes to address community concerns

January 23, 2018

The Post Bros. have placed their zoning application for a 243-unit addition to Garden Court Plaza at 4701 Pine St. on hold following a public meeting last week, according to the Garden Court Community Association.

A large majority of the approximately 70 people in attendance opposed the plan, which requires special zoning approval from the city. Public comment is factored into that decision. Much of the opposition focused on the availability of affordable housing and parking.

“The Post Brothers have heard our voices loud and clear and want to work with the community to address the issues raised at the meeting,” reads a statement on the Garden Court Community Association website. “They do not intend to proceed with the project without community support. As a result, their zoning application has been put on hold. GCCA Zoning Committee will be working with the Post Brothers to meaningfully address our community’s concerns, especially with regards to housing affordability.” 

The proposal includes a six-story structure built within the current complex. It requires zoning approval due to height (it’s well over the 38 feet allowed for new structures on the property) and density (it calls for more than doubling the number of units on the property).

25 Comments For This Post

  1. Liam Says:

    If this block were zoned properly at CMX-3 (as recommended in the City’s 2035 plan for West Philly), the developers could build their project by-right by using the affordable housing density bonus. Instead, underzoned at CMX-2, no affordable housing bonuses are available.

  2. JB Says:

    And, once again, city residents place their NIMBY concerns ahead of school funding by opposing and delaying yet another development that would (eventually) provide much-needed tax revenue. Perhaps we should remember this the next time we go begging for funding from the state.

  3. James Says:

    We need a huge change in zoning rules to inspire more development, affordable housing and tax ratables vice retarding what is being proposed to address what is needed in the neighborhood.

  4. Bob Says:

    I’d like to think the neighborhood isn’t NIMBY in general, just on this project.

    There’s a giant empty lot on 48th and Walnut since a fire destroyed the old high-rise there, that would be a good place for some added density.

    49th and spruce is a parking lot that could be turned into parking/housing.

    Given, I didn’t look at zoning to see if those were allowed.

  5. bw Says:

    49th and spruce proposal from a few years ago. no idea where it stands today. would fit in well with the surrounding apartment buildings.

    http://www.westphillylocal.com/2016/08/11/community-gets-look-at-9-story-apartment-building-proposal-for-49th-and-spruce/

    I share your sentiment on the neighborhood NIMBY hopefulness although not the best track record lately. the neighborhood definitely hates Post Brothers. we even managed to kill an AFFORDABLE housing property for VETERANS at 46th and spruce, b/c of you guessed it – parking.

  6. Hermes Says:

    Garden Court has about 6500 habitants. As per the link, 61 votes were counted, 47 of them against. I would be more humble and cautious before jumping to conclusions of what a vote of less than 1% of the community represents.

  7. Bob Says:

    I wonder why they didn’t just to a By-Right at 46th and Spruce for the Vets. Seems like no one could really way anything then.

  8. bw Says:

    by-right requires parking which is insanely expensive to construct in a dense urban environment. and with income restricted rents, you can only afford a limited amount of long term debt. no community support for the parking variance was the kiss of death since 9% tax credits are only awarded to development with local community support.

    don’t worry though, student housing won out there!

  9. goldenmonkey Says:

    It’s almost like we live close to 3 universities.

  10. Sb Says:

    This neighborhood is so NIMBY I just can’t even. And they are planning on building something at 49th and spruce. People from garden court came to protest it even though they don’t live on the surrounding blocks. Personally, I would love more foot traffic and amenities. Maybe also fewer dead bodies dumped on my street, drug deals behind the empty shipping container, and public urination. But no, let’s not encourage development because someone else might make money. It is so eye roll inducing.

  11. Aaron Kreider Says:

    I think the baseline rents of $2000+ /month had something to do with the opposition. It is super luxury apartments and we don’t need them.

  12. goldenmonkey Says:

    Where do you live that $2000/month is “luxury”? Especially with amenities? Reading, PA?

    Again, I hate to repeat myself, but it appears a great number of you have had your heads in the sand for quite some time: West Philly, particularly Spruce Hill and Garden Court is finally recovering from the 80’s and 90’s crack-fueled crime sprees. These prices are not out of line with historical precedents.

    Does your average home have maid’s quarters on the 4th floor?

    There are still many, many areas in the city where housing is inexpensive and below national averages. Move there and stop whining about how you can’t park your car for your monthly excursion to the Grey’s Ferry Fresh Grocer.

  13. Bob Says:

    I think $2000 + heat + water + pet (optional) + laundry for a 600 sq ft studio apt is high for 47th and Pine. It is probably fine and reasonable for center city and maybe even on Penn/Drexel’s campus.

  14. goldenmonkey Says:

    Except that the neighborhood isn’t mired in poverty per the last 30 years. People actually want to live here now. This is obviously reflected in development and rental rates.

  15. bw Says:

    honestly doesn’t matter what any of us think is an appropriate rent amount. the developers and lenders are the only ones taking any financial risk. if rents are too high and no one wants to live there, the developer will lower the rent to increase occupancy. alternatively, if the lender doesn’t agree with the rents, they’ll provide a smaller loan and force more equity from the developer.

    I would love more affordable housing in our neighborhood but cheap land and 9% low income housing tax credits (LIHTC) are a scarce resource. hoping that the city will come up with some magic fix is a waste of time. best case for more affordable housing in our area would be granting variances for less parking in exchange for more units where a certain percentage of those need to be affordable.

    I know folks probably hate to hear that. but how about you buy some land in the area, build an apartment building, and keep the rents very low. and then tell me how much money you lose a year. anyone signing up for that? doubt it.

  16. Avdol Muhammed Says:

    People have been wanted to live here, please stop with the “Up-and-coming” foolishness.

  17. goldenmonkey Says:

    You probably don’t know who Vladimir Sled was, but I suggest you google it.

  18. Avdol Muhammed Says:

    Okay, so? My family has been here for generations, crime happens.

  19. Meredith Says:

    Avdol – thanks for your statements and for irritating “goldenmonkey”

  20. goldenmonkey Says:

    No irritation here. I learned long ago that it’s a fool’s crusade to rail against ignorance. I mean, I could make a comment like “My point was that the death of Sled was a turning point for the entire community and forced Penn to invest in security and PAS thus creating a vibrant real estate market where previously the area was seen as dangerous and hostile to families who valued the safety of their loved ones.”

    But someone, perhaps you, would come back with an amazing rebuttal such as, “Muh parking.”

  21. Avdol Muhammed Says:

    #1 Penn’s issues do not directly equate to West Philadelphia issues all the time. Stop that. I understand the death of this man changed a lot, but let’s keep it real, it didn’t change anything past 46th St.
    #2 It’s West Philly, it’s the hood. It’s been dangerous and hostile, and hundreds of people are murdered every year. What about the thousands of people before this man? The thousands of black bodies whose lives were thrown away in violence? But one of their own gets killed and –then- they care. I don’t know why y’all think you are going to walk into the hood and save it, that White Savior complex is strong. Penn didn’t magically make the neighborhood better by caring more about it and watching out for safety, they did it by offering employees sweet deals to invest in local real estate and get in early, while they could push “University City’s” borders.
    #3 “Vibrant real estate market” that people originally from the neighborhood can’t afford. I grew up on 49th and Chancellor and my family lived between there and 52nd for about a 40 year period and were homeowners and renters. I have 2 jobs and I can’t afford to do either there now. So who is that Real Estate vibrant for?
    #4 The fact that you think University City at it’s worse is that bad, tells me you never been down the bottom. Humble yourself and go down there.
    #5 I’m descended from people who migrated to this area to escape racism, and literally for a better chance at survival. For the descendants of those people, they aren’t enjoying the “vibrant” real estate or the “Safety” of the neighborhood, they are being priced out and fetished as “mad sketch”. My family has been here since the early 1900’s and for 4 generations. University City sits on Black Bottom, a former community of self-made African-Americans who bought land, and were bought out by the Universities. They were displaced and isolated from the surrounding development and basically left out of the process in how the old neighborhood was made University City. 50, 60 years later people in the internet out here saying I’m bout to be saying “Muh parking”, naw. That’s a y’all issue, the rest of West Philly doesn’t have a parking problem. Down here on 57th and Market you can park anywhere you want all damn day. We literally have ample parking, day or night.

    So yes, people were here before it became “Up-and-Coming”, and that term is offensive because you’re suggesting the residents in the neighborhood before it became popular simply don’t matter now, and never really mattered to begin with.

  22. goldenmonkey Says:

    Enjoy Upper Darby!

  23. Avdol Muhammed Says:

    And a Happy Black History Month to you.

  24. goldenmonkey Says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  25. Avdol Muhammed Says:

    And we still got 15 more days of Black History month to go.

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