If you’ve been near Broad and Bainbridge Streets in South Philadelphia within the last two years or so, you have likely noticed the colorful low-rise building. The one-story office building has occupied the 8,970 square foot CMX-3 parcel for longer than 2 years, but the building was not as eye catching in years past. The property also includes an attached surface parking lot.
If you’re a fan of street art, you may want to get down to South Philly soon before the building at 701 S. Broad St. is demolished. Use permits were pulled two days ago for the erection of a 7-story, 84 foot tall building with 50 residential units, a roof deck, 25 bike parking spaces, and a ground floor fresh grocer. The development team is utilizing the fresh food market height bonus on this project. There will also be 16 off-site car parking spots at 1441-49 South St. A previous iteration of this project called for 49 residential units, 2 commercial spaces, and 30 underground automated parking spots.
We’re thrilled to see this low-rise building and surface parking lot bite the dust and are happy to see additional residential density and commercial space added to South Broad. However, it is perplexing to us that this lot is only zoned CMX-3 and the development team has to use a height bonus to build to 84 feet. Broad St. is Philadelphia’s main North/South arterial road and is 4 lanes wide + a median. This property is 0.6 miles from City Hall. Just a few blocks north on Broad St., a 542 foot condo tower is under construction. The lot sits literally on top of the BSL. There could not be a better place to allow a tall, dense project.
More disturbing is that much of Broad St. south of Washington Ave. is actually zoned RSA-5, which only allows single family dwellings by-right. If we want to continue to grow as a city and prevent outlying neighborhoods from being further gentrified, we need to allow residential density in Center City and along the subway lines. Every low and mid-rise development within the urban core will be looked at as a missed opportunity in the coming decades as we run out of vacant properties and surface parking lots to develop.
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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