York Street is a wide thoroughfare that sets the boundary between Fishtown and Olde Richmond. The road holds several businesses sprinkled among single family homes. The restaurants, cafes, bars, offices, and other retailers occupy most corners on York Street, with row houses occupying the middle of the blocks. There are a few exceptions, such as 2424 Studios, a block-long converted warehouse now used as offices. In our opinion, York St. could benefit from more storefronts and more residential density to support the nearby businesses.
It looks like we’re not the only ones with this viewpoint. Developers are proposing a 6-story, 69 foot tall building with 24 residential units, a ground floor retail spaces, and 8 bicycle parking spaces at 2504-2508 E. York St. The proposed project encompasses two legal parcels at the corner of Belgrade and York St. that would need to be combined. The RSA-5 lots currently hold two single family houses that will be demolished if this project proceeds.
As 2504-2508 E. York St. is zoned Residential Single-Family Attached (RSA-5), this project will need to appear before the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) and will require a variance for its multi-family and commercial uses. We think these parcels are incorrectly zoned and should be classified as CMX-2 at the minimum. The rest of south side of the block is zoned CMX-2.
There are other refusals as the development team is also proposing 14% open lot area, where 20% is required. The proposed backyard depth is 5 feet, where 9 feet is required. Lastly, the proposed 69 foot project height is over the 38 foot limit in RSA-5 zoning districts.
Although we have not seen the proposed design of this development, we are fans of the project specifications. A new, dense, mixed-use building would do wonders for the continued revival of E. York St. There are still a bunch of large, developable parcels on the street. This project could set the tone for the future evolution of the York St. commercial corridor. We look forward to the day when people living in this section of the neighborhood have more food, drink, and retail options near their home bases and we think this project could be a catalyst to that vision becoming a reality.
If you are in support of this project and live nearby, we recommend you get out to the Fishtown Neighborhood Association meeting to vote on January 7th at 7PM at the Fishtown Recreation Center (1202 E. Montgomery Ave). The project is currently scheduled to appear before the ZBA on January 29th.
Kyle is a commercial real estate agent at Rittenhouse Realty Advisors, a homeowner, and a real estate investor in Philadelphia. Kyle uses his extensive Philadelphia real estate market knowledge to help his clients buy and sell multifamily investment properties, development opportunities, and industrial sites.
Email Kyle@RittenhouseRealty.com if you are looking to buy or sell a property