Philadelphia City Planning Commissioners remain unhappy with the looks of a 12-story residential building Aquinas Realty plans to build at 2017-23 Chestnut Street, but they voted to support the zoning relief needed to build it, anyway.
Commissioners' displeasure – largely centered around the building materials the developer intends to use on the Chestnut Street facade, including air louvers that would be visible from the street - was first expressed when the Aquinas team brought their project to the PCPC for an information-only session last month. The commission asked Aquinas to look at other alternatives. Aquinas brought them more detailed renderings of the same louvers proposal.
“We didn't say bring us another picture,” said Commissioner Patrick Eiding. “I take a little offense at how you over-simplified our request.” The project, to be located, next to the Art Deco YWCA building that now houses Friere Charter School, will begin new development on that part of Chestnut Street, Eiding said. “If we...go cheap to begin with, where are we going to end up in the future?” he asked.
Aquinas team members told the board the building would not be cheap, but would be modern-looking. It would not be an all-granite building, said Michael Ytterberg of BLT Architects, because the project isn't as luxurious as 10 Rittenhouse.
“Quite frankly, there are not that many more options that are not more money,” he said, and, the economy being what it is, that's important stuff.
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