185-Unit, Mixed-Use Project Proposed in East Falls

4401 Ridge Ave. Rendering Oombra Architects
4401 Ridge Ave. Rendering – Oombra Architects

East Falls has a great main street along Ridge Avenue on the blocks between the Route 1 overpass and the East Falls Bridge. There are a bunch of cool restaurants, cafes, and shops along this strip. One thing that will help these businesses continue to thrive and will attract more businesses to East Falls is more people living within walking distance of the commercial corridor.

Several significant projects are already under construction or planned right around this area and it looks like another is now in the pipeline. Developers are proposing an 85 foot tall building with 185 residential units, 4,760 square feet of commercial space, 189 open air parking spaces, 62 bicycle stalls, a green roof, and a roof deck on the 82,385 square foot CMX-3 zoned parcel at 4401 Ridge Avenue. The 178,837 square foot proposed structure will include 34 studios, 117 one bedroom units, and 34 two bedroom units. The commercial space will be located at the corner of Ridge Ave. and Merrick Rd.

4401 Ridge Ave. project site
4401 Ridge Ave. Project Site
4401 Ridge Ave. Rendering Oombra Architects
4401 Ridge Ave. Rendering – Oombra Architects

This project will need a variance to proceed. There are two refusals. The first refusal is for a steep slope. No earth disturbance is allowed by-right on the part of the parcel where the slope is more than 25%. The development team is also proposing one off street loading zone whereas two would be required in a by-right project. The meeting with the community took place on February 17th. The ZBA hearing was scheduled for yesterday, but has been continued to a later date. The development team is scheduled to meet with the Civic Design Review on April 6th.

Because of the slope of the parcel, the building has an interesting stepped design. The facade will be made up of a dark standing seam metal, boardformed concrete, and glazed glass.

4401 Ridge Ave. Rendering Oombra Architects
4401 Ridge Ave. Rendering – Merrick Rd. side of building – Oombra Architects
4401 Ridge Ave. Rendering Oombra Architects
4401 Ridge Ave. Rendering – Oombra Architects

Another interesting aspect of this project is that the property is currently (was?) owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority. The development team is either under contract to buy the land, or the city’s records have not been updated to reflect the closed transaction. Instead of building on this difficult parcel, the PHA will be able to take the proceeds from the sale and invest that money into building affordable units elsewhere at a lower cost per unit.

This project will supply homes for hundreds of people, will provide more customers for local businesses, and will stretch the Ridge Avenue commercial corridor further north. We’re excited to watch East Falls continue to develop and to see what kinds of businesses open up in the neighborhood as more people move to the area.

How do you feel about this project? What kind of businesses would you like to see move into East Falls?

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