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South Philly project will bring retail, housing to Bainbridge

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It came forward at a meeting on Tuesday

A rendering of the proposed development.
KRP Architects and Gorman & Co., via phila.gov

South Philly is likely getting a mixed-use building with retail, homes, and a whole lot of parking.

The project, which is co-designed by E-Z Park Inc. and Gorman and Company, will see 23,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, 48 residential units, and a 66,000-square-foot, above-ground parking garage go in at the corner of 4th and Bainbridge. The space is currently a parking lot.

The development was brought forth at a Civic Design Review (CDR) meeting Tuesday. It combines different design elements to create the illusion of one cohesive facade. Using red and gray bricks as well as vertical metal panels, developers hope to obscure the parking garage which will be located on the second and third floors, and help the building blend into the Queen Village neighborhood.

The project was originally supposed to be seven stories, but has been brought down to six floors due to community pushback. There have been mentions of a Target coming into the space as well, but the news wasn’t confirmed at the Tuesday meeting.

However, residents are still apprehensive about the project being appropriate for the character of the quaint neighborhood.

Gregory Duffy, a resident in the area, voiced his concern about the building’s height and scale during the meeting Tuesday.

“It’s absurd. This is a neighborhood. It’s called Queen Village for a reason. It’s supposed to be a quaint village neighborhood,” Duffy said. He also criticized the impact such projects have on public open space in his neighborhood. “My children and I like to sit there. We have our ice cream there, we enjoy being able to look at blue sky. Putting that building there is going to obliterate our view of the sky”

Other residents and members of the CDR questioned why the parking lot was not underground. “The zoning code was changed in this city to get parking off of the second and third floor” said Cecil Baker, architect and CDR member. “This one is not doing the right thing.”

Another CDR member, Daniel Garofalo, said an above-ground parking lot, “Is a detriment to the experience of being on that street.” Garofalo said the project represented a lost opportunity to develop in a historic part of Philadelphia.“You see the failures time and time again in Center City. There’s no reason to perpetuate that kind of mistake here.”

However, the project’s architect, Jerry K. Roller, argued that the development would be cost prohibitive to go underground for the parking. Instead, he took the sub-committee up on their suggestion to get rid of the metal screens in the parking lot, and replace them with glazed windows that don’t allow you to look inside.

Roller also said the project would address a lack of public parking and traffic congestion along South Street.

Co-developer of the project, Matt Gorman, defended the merits of the project. He and his wife, who live close to site where the rumored Target will go said they, “Would be the first one to go here and buy diapers for our kids. There are a lot of young families in this city this project’s going to support.”

Nancy Rogo Trainer, CDR Chairwoman, urged the development team to research ways to disguise the parking lot from the outside, even as she expressed skepticism they would be able to do so.

“Even when I’ve seen it done, I haven’t seen it done well,” she said.

  • New Target location likely coming to South Philly [Curbed Philly]

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