PlanPhilly

Bills would allow new mixed-use development on Schuylkill waterfront in Center City

A proposal is in place to adjust the zoning regulations for two properties at 23rd and Arch streets to make way for River Walk, a mixed-use apartment complex of unknown dimensions.

The properties in question span the length of 23rd Street between Cherry Street and JFK Boulevard, and they are bounded on the west side by the Schuylkill River Trail. Both are currently used together as a surface parking lot; an elevated SEPTA railway line cuts the site in two.

    • River Walk aerial rendering | NP International
      River Walk aerial rendering | NP International
    • River Walk rendering of view from JFK Boulevard | NP International
      River Walk rendering of view from JFK Boulevard | NP International
    • River Walk plaza rendering | NP International
      River Walk plaza rendering | NP International
    • Rendering of proposed River Walk project, 23rd and Arch streets | NP International
      Rendering of proposed River Walk project, 23rd and Arch streets | NP International
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The River Walk development was first reported by the City Paper.

The property facing JFK Boulevard is currently zoned CMX-5, the highest-density commercial zoning category in the city, while the site that faces Cherry Street is zoned RMX-3, a medium-density residential mixed-use classification. The southern edge of the property is directly across Cherry Street from the Rivers Edge condominiums.

Last week, Council President Darrell Clarke introduced two bills that would make changes to the zoning requirements on the site. The first bill extends the portion of the property zoned CMX-5 about 60 feet north, to make a “viable footprint” for the project. This move would increase the portion of the property that allows denser development.

The other bill adjusts the Center City zoning overlay by setting a height limit of 500 feet for the portion of the site in between JFK Boulevard and the SEPTA railway line. It sets a 300-foot height limit for the portion of the property between the SEPTA line and Cherry Street. It also allows retail uses on the property to be located above the ground floor, above residential uses.

A spokeswoman for Council President Clarke confirmed that the bills are targeted at the River Walk project. Representatives of the developer, NP-International, did not return a phone call Monday morning. Members of Logan Square Neighborhood Association did not immediately respond to an email message.

The two properties are currently owned by New York-based Garrison Investment Group, and they are worth a combined $23 million, according to the Office of Property Assessment.

    • River Walk development site from the east
      River Walk development site from the east
    • River Walk development site and Rivers Edge condominiums
      River Walk development site and Rivers Edge condominiums
    • River Walk development site from northwest corner
      River Walk development site from northwest corner
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About the author

Jared Brey, Zoning and development reporter

Jared Brey writes about development, zoning policy, and city government for PlanPhilly.com. He wasn't interested in being a reporter until halfway through a master's program in journalism at Temple University that he intended to parlay into an academic career. His work has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, City Paper, Business Journal, and Metropolis. 

Jared grew up in Montgomery County and moved to Philadelphia in 2005. He has since lived in Brewerytown, the Italian Market, North Central, Bella Vista, and East Passyunk. He believes he will stay in South Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @jaredbrey, or send him tips at jbrey@planphilly.com.


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