40-Unit, Mixed-Use Plan for North Broad is Going to the ZBA

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The funeral home building at 2008 N. Broad St.

Just north of Broad and Norris St. is 2008 N. Broad St., a 7,968 square foot Institutional Special Purpose (SP-INS) zoned parcel. The property holds a short, street-to-street building that was once the home of a funeral parlor. The funeral home no longer operates out of the space.

2008 N. Broad St. was sold at sheriff sale in December of 2016 after the funeral home business battled the IRS in the courts over unpaid taxes. Plumbing permits to seal the sewage lateral were pulled in May of 2017. The next month, demolition permits were pulled. The building still stands today.

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Zoning map with 2008 N. Broad St. outlined

We do not see cases involving SP-INS zoned properties too often. This zoning classification is usually reserved for universities or medical campuses and is intended to help with the execution of the institution’s master plan. Obviously, Temple University surrounds this property, but Temple does not own it.

The owners of the property are proposing a 40 residential unit building on the site with ground floor retail and 14 bike parking spaces. SP-INS does not allow residential use by-right. So, this project needs a zoning variance in order to proceed. The meeting is currently scheduled for October 2nd.

The back of 2008 N. Broad St. from N. Carlisle St.

We do not think the owners should have trouble getting their variance. 40 residential units are a much better use of this parcel than a vacant low-rise storefront that sits on one of the city’s widest commercial corridors. The zoning permit also notes that the retail use will conform with the SP-INS zoning rules. A day care, library, religious assembly, a business office, a medical office, a government office, or a restaurant would be permitted in the retail space. There are various other uses that would also be allowed. Interestingly enough, a funeral home would be allowed. But, we do not think a funeral home will occupy the space if the project is allowed to move forward. We imagine it will be some type of business that will cater to Temple students, employees, and visitors.

How do you feel about this project? Do you think a 40-unit mixed-use building should be approved for this site? What type of business would you like to see occupy the retail space?

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