At a community meeting last night, two developers presented their proposals for 800-30 Vine Street in Chinatown to a standing-room only crowd and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA), which owns the property.
The PRA began acquiring the parcels in 1966 and finished in 2012 with 140,000 square feet total. In September of 2016, it issued a request for proposals (RFP) for developers to purchase and develop the CMX4-zoned land with a project that would provide “social impact.” Ultimately, Parkway Corporation and Pennrose submitted proposals, presenting two very different visions for the site to hundreds of people who attended last night’s meeting.
The PRA noted in their RFP that it’s a complex site, in that much of the parcels cannot be developed because of two rail tunnels and a sewer easement that run beneath the land. Developers also had to take into account that Chinatown in general is largely separated from the rest of the city by the Vine Street Expressway and lacks green space, senior affordable housing, or community gathering space.
With that in mind, here’s what Parkway Corp. and Pennrose brought to the table.
Proposals for 800-30 Vine Street
|Cecil Baker + Partners
|Wallace Roberts and Todd: WRT Design
|Number of buildings
|3 (2 condo buildings, 1 senior affordable housing)
|4 (1 senior housing, 1 hotel, 1 apartment building, 1 Equal Justice Center)
|Max building heights
|Retail square footage
|26,000 sq. ft.
|20,000 sq. ft.
|Senior affordable housing
|60 1-bedroom units
|55-65 1- and 2-bedroom units
|125 units (~$300K for a 1BR to ~$500K for a 3BR)
|160 studio, 1BR, and 2BR units (~$1,500-$2,200)
|An "intergenerational" playground and a 6,000-square-foot urban farm run by Helios, which will grow its own produce to be sold at 2/3 the average price to an on-site grocery store
|A 14-story, 160,000-square-foot Equal Justice Center, which would house legal services for the community under one roof; an 8-story, 147-bed Comfort Inn Hotel
|181 spaces (with potential for up to 231 total)
After each developer’s 30-minute presentations, they answered a half-hour’s worth of what was mostly positive and inquisitive questions and input from the community. Councilman Mark Squilla said the PRA would use the feedback to help pick one of the two proposals and move forward.
PRA director Greg Heller said that once the agency selects a proposal, it will be followed by “several months” of working out an agreement that will then need approval from the Board of Directors. The proposal will then seek City Council approval.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that Pennrose’s project proposed 143 parking spaces. It actually includes 180 spaces. We regret the error.