The beloved Trolley Car Diner right on the border of Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill closed two years ago after being in business for nearly 20 years. Around the time that the restaurant’s closure was announced, we heard rumors of plans to develop the property. However, we haven’t heard much other news about the site since then other than that the green trolley car would be relocated to Fishtown near the Fillmore to serve as an ice cream shop. Anyone know if that is still happening?
The 25,883 square foot, CMX-2 zoned Trolley Car Diner property at 7619 Germantown Avenue ended up trading hands in March for $4 million and it looks like the new owners are ready to move forward with developing the site. In anticipation of the project team’s meeting with the Civic Design Review (CDR), plans for the proposal have been released.
The owners are planning a 5-story, 122,000 square foot building with 114 residential units, 6,655 square feet of commercial space, 38 automobile parking spots, 39 bicycle stalls, a green roof, and a roof deck. The parking entrance will be located on the side of the building on forgotten Woodbrook Lane. The building will have an internal plaza which will serve as an outdoor lounge and will also allow more windows on the upper floors.
We must say the design of this building is truly unique in a positive way. The facade will primarily be constructed of grey brick with black brick, bronze, and concrete accents. Recessed arched pockets with residential balconies line the upper floors. The lower portion of the building is wrapped in large windows. The renderings depict a vaulted brick entryway that reminds us of the hallway at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
There have been no zoning or construction permits issued for this project to date. If the project is by-right, it must be utilizing several bonuses. The project is not on the ZBA’s schedule at this time, so we assume it may be by-right.
Although we loved the Trolley Car Diner, its time has passed and we think it is appropriate to reactivate this piece of land. As planned, the project looks amazing. We hope it moves forward and that it turns out nearly as good as the renderings look.
How do you feel about the plan and design? What kind of business would you like to see open in the commercial space? Maybe a diner?
Kyle is a Philadelphia real estate agent on the Agent PHL team at Compass, a homeowner, and a real estate investor in Philadelphia. Kyle uses his extensive Philadelphia real estate market knowledge to help his clients find homes, investment properties, and development opportunities.
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