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Art Commission Poo-Poos Planned Apts Behind Rodin Museum

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Developers of a proposed apartment complex at 2100 Hamilton St. in Logan Square went before the Art Commission this week to further explain their plans for their development that sits in an abandoned rail bed some 60-feet behind the Rodin Musuem. Let's just say, it didn't go well for developer Cross Properties and Barton Partners, the architect for the project. With phrases like "not aesthetically pleasing" and remarks fearing it would reduce the the Rodin Museum into a "garden ornament", it sounds like it got crushed.

For a little background on the project, PlanPhilly says it would feature 120 apartments marketed towards Millennials and "empty-nesters" with rents at $2,000/month. It would also have a ground floor restaurant/retail space. As for the Art Commission, it didn't really care for just about everything but forward by Cross Properties, calling it not aesthetically pleasing, questioning the relatively low $24M cost of the project and reminding the developers of the historical implications around the property.

It's proximity to the understated Rodin Museum is one of the main sticking points, as is the potential development of the Rail Park, which would then be cut off by the new apartment complex. David Brownlee, historian of modern architecture, provided this amazingly blunt critique, "We have brought the Parkway into the public realm, this project needs to be as thoughtful as our recent work on the Parkway. We cannot allow the Rodin to be used as a piece of garden ornament in front of a rather ordinary apartment building and its cafe." Ouch.

In a report from August, Inga Saffron was rather torn about the development. While the ground floor retail and density of the complex would provide a "strong urban presence" in the booming Hamilton Street/Parkway area, Saffron could help my lament the fact that the design would "make the diminutive Rodin look hemmed in by a giant."

PlanPhilly reports that commissioner Sean Buffington said the commission would not approve the project and recommended to developer David Blumenthal of Cross Properties to withdraw their proposal. "Blumenfeld agreed to withdraw the proposal at this time."
· A Philadelphia problem at the Art Commission: It all makes sense until you get into the weeds [PlanPhilly]
· Changing Skyline: Building plan may hem in the Rodin [The Inquirer]