It's been seven months and five days since Lindsey Scannapieco was handed the keys to the historic Edward W. Bok Vocational School in East Passyunk. And in that time, she and her team have hosted a rooftop pop-up bar and leased out the entire first floor to fashion designers, photographers, hat makers, even electrical engineers.
Now on the Bok Building's long to-do list? Turn the pop-up bar into a permanent restaurant on the 16,000-square-foot roof, open a dog park, bring in a daycare, and begin leasing out the rest of the seven floors of the E-shaped building.
All of that seems more likely after last night's East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association's zoning meeting, where residents voted 36 to 6 in favor of the Bok Building's application for a liquor license. In her presentation, Scannapieco said, "Affordability is key for this to work. It's about balance, and having this commercial component is key."
Running the behemoth of a building isn't cheap: Utilities cost $10,000 month and the occupancy rate comes with a $1 million annual price tag. Scannapieco says the proposed 45-seat restaurant and 359-person seasonal bar is a feasible way to offset those costs and allow tenants to continue to afford the low costs. Renting a space in the building averages around $12-$13 per square foot.
The community's overall support of the liquor license, however, didn't come without critiques. Various residents spoke of last summer's parking nightmares, long and loud lines on the sidewalk, and inebriated people walking the streets.
Building an underground parking lot is a few years down the road, but the Scannapieco says the Bok Building has worked out an agreement with next door's Southwark school to park in its 48-space lot during restaurant hours for $10. All proceeds will go to Southwark.
In addition, a 23-foot-long pull-off lane for Ubers and taxis was proposed for Mifflin Street, to help eliminate traffic congestion. There will also be a 20-person line limit outside of the building—local residents in the 19147 and 19148 zip codes will be able to skip the line entirely.
The liquor license can still be appealed, but if all goes to plan, the restaurant will open in June. The dog park, which was able to be built by right, will open on Sunday, February 28.
· Philly's Best New Rooftop Hangout is in This Shuttered School [Curbed Philly]
· Young Gun Scannapieco Aims to Bring Bok Back to Life [Curbed Philly]
· Rooftop Views from Shuttered Bok Building Are Glorious [Curbed Philly]
· Meet Lindsey Scannapieco: Philly Developer and Young Gun [Curbed Philly]