North Broad Street has been on fire over the last real estate boom cycle. We have seen the restoration of the Divine Lorraine and the Metropolitan Opera House, two white whales in the Philadelphia development scene. We have also seen multiple large-scale residential and mixed-use properties rise, including the 18-story apartment building at 1324 N. Broad St. We recently told you about more than 500 units currently under construction at Broad and Ridge. Development continues to creep northward on Broad Street. With Temple University and growing neighborhoods surrounding the thoroughfare, this is no surprise to us.
Plans were just released for a 19-story, 225 unit, mixed-use tower at Broad and Jefferson St. The development will be replacing the Mt. Sinai Holy Church. This church has likely caught your eye if you have ever been in the area as it is one of the oddest pieces of architecture in Philadelphia. If you haven’t seen this building and would like to, you may want to take a trip up North Broad St. soon as it may be demolished in the near future.
The new high-rise project is planned for 1451 N. Broad St., a 29,280 square foot, CMX-2.5 zoned lot within a Federal Opportunity Zone. The project can actually not be built by-right as CMX-2.5 does not allow for this much residential density or height. It is puzzling to us how this lot on one of the city’s widest commercial corridors is only zoned CMX-2.5. The parcels directly across Broad St. are zoned CMX-4. Almost every piece of land on Broad St. from City Hall to Temple is zoned CMX-4 or CMX-5. So, 1451’s CMX-2.5 zoning classification really makes little sense. The developers should not have a problem attaining zoning variances as there are many other tall, dense buildings in the area.
Cecil Baker + Partners lead the design for the project. A courtyard fronting Broad St. on the tower’s southern side will provide access to the residential lobby. There will also be a fitness center on the ground level fronting Broad St. and a 4,887 square foot commercial space at the corner of Broad and Jefferson. We imagine the gym will be for residents only.
The project will include 21 surface parking spaces. We think this parking ratio makes sense as many of the building’s residents will likely be students, and the building will sit within 2 blocks of the Cecil B. Moore Broad Street Line Station. The surface parking lot will be at the same location as an existing surface lot. The project plans note that there is a water department stormwater maintenance right of way which prevents construction at the location of the parking lot.
We look forward to seeing the results of this project’s hearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) on June 26th. The project has our vote of support. Broad St., especially around Temple and so close to Center City, needs more residential density. More people in the area will help local businesses and will make the area safer. This residential density will help prevent students from impeding on rowhouse neighborhoods and pushing out long-term residents. We are also excited to see another tall building added to the North Philly skyline. How do you feel about this project? Do you like the building designs?