Tuesday's Planning Commission meeting featured three information-only presentations of proposed developments that all face either community opposition or serious questions from commission members about each project's suitability.
205 Race St.
Jeff Brown, of Brown-Hill Development, presented a large mixed-use project at the corner of Second and Race streets.
The development is meant to “speak to the Race Street pier” and would represent the first major project along Race Street completed after the pier opening earlier this year.
According to architect Thomas Gluck, the project would include 150,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space at the foot of 122 mid-income rental apartments, ranging from studios to two bedrooms.
The proposal also calls for about 12,500 square feet of below-ground retail space and would satisfy city parking requirements by providing off-site parking at a location that still needs to be determined.
Gluck said the developer was looking for a major anchor tenant, like a supermarket, to take up the retail space.
In an effort to maintain the low-rise, rowhouse feel of Race Street, the portion of the building fronting it would be 52 feet tall. The large mass of the building would be along the Ben Franklin Bridge, where the structure would rise to 178 feet.
“It's hard to pull this off,” Gluck admitted, adding that he tried to respect the historic nature of Race by emulating the neighboring rowhouses. On Second Street, the structure would transition to a contemporary curtain wall.
Gluck's assurances that the project respects Old City's historic character haven't satisfied the local civic or preservation advocates.