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169 apartments, massive rock climbing gym planned in Fishtown

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It cleared the Civic Design Review committee

A mixed-use residential building complete with a massive rock-climbing gym is in the works for Delaware Avenue in Fishtown, after clearing yesterday’s Civic Design Review meeting.

Core Realty has proposed a new 85-foot-tall mixed-use building at 1100 Delaware Avenue that will adjoin an existing historic structure, the Ed Corner building. That will be an adaptive reuse project that will transform the building into 10 of 169 total residential units and ground-level retail.

At the Civic Design Review meeting, the committee and members of the community thanked the developer and design team, Stanev Pott Architects, for incorporating the 3-story Ed Corner building into the proposal. Previously proposed projects were initially rejected by the Fishtown Neighbors Association because they called for demolishing the historic warehouse.

The Ed Corner building is in “tough shape,” the developer said at the meeting. But they plan to restore as much as possible, including the facade, the windows, and the Ghost signs.

Patrick Grossi, director of advocacy at the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, commented that he hoped the project would serve as a model for future developments in the neighborhood and throughout the city.

The new building, which is currently a parking lot, will house the rest of the apartments on the top five stories. Grid City Climbing has signed a 10-year lease with Core Realty for a 22,000-square-foot space.

Committee chair Nancy Rogo-Trainer cautioned that more articulation along the facade of the rock-climbing gym on Allen Street may benefit the design so that residents of the rowhomes aren’t facing a monotonous charcoal wall. A design that’s more gentle in scale may be needed, she added.

The design committee voted unanimously to conclude the CDR process. The project, which is zoned CMX-3, will be built by-right.