PlanPhilly

Kensington’s luxury townhouse kings experimenting with lower-priced condos

The very busy River Wards developer responsible for a large portion of those luxury townhomes you see popping up across Kensington and Port Richmond is at work on a new  South Kensington project, reports Sandy Smith for Philly Mag. Developer Riverwards Group recently filed zoning permit requests to build a 146-unit mixed-use residential-commercial project between Germantown Avenue and Fifth Street along Cecil B. Moore. Smith reports that

Ten percent of the units  —14 total— will be “designated as ‘entry-level’ condos priced at $159,990. The remaining 132 units will sell for anywhere from $239,990 to $279,990 — apparently market-rate in the gentrifying area. Philly Mag offered no details on the size of the coming condos or their amenities. Smith notes that the developer added the lower-priced units in response to concerns about affordability voiced at community review meetings about the development, called Avenue V. Planned for a lot zoned for industrial uses, the 32-building retail and residential development will require zoning variances. The developer said the buildings will range from three stories to eight stories, with one condo unit on each floor. Avenue V will rise within a stone’s throw of another RiverWards project, N5 Square. Described by the developer as a “real estate revolution” comprised of 57 “luxury” homes selling for 399,990 for a “carriage home” with no parking and up, N5 Square is under construction on a lot last occupied by a circus school.

RiverWards also recently got the go-ahead from the  Zoning Board of Adjustment to build a 155-unit luxury housing project on a four-acre site at the corner of Lehigh and Frankford avenues, adjacent to the Conrail tracks, not far from the epicenter of the city’s opioid crisis.  Those homes are expected to sell for $199,000 to $369,000.

    • A rendering of an interior courtyard planned for 2035 Lehigh Ave.
      A rendering of an interior courtyard planned for 2035 Lehigh Ave.
    • Multi-Family Buildings from East Lehigh Ave. (Credit: KJO Architecture)
      Multi-Family Buildings from East Lehigh Ave. (Credit: KJO Architecture)
    • Site map of 2035 Lehigh Ave. (Credit: KJO Architecture)
      Site map of 2035 Lehigh Ave. (Credit: KJO Architecture)
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RiverWards received mixed feedback from neighbors over the 2035 Lehigh Avenue development, in particular the ZBA’s ruling “allowing real estate interests to skirt existing land use regulations, despite community opposition,” PlanPhilly’s Jake Blumgart reported. “We have a particular issue with this project because it goes against five years of community planning,” said New Kensington CDC’s Andrew Goodman during public testimony against the project at the Planning Commission in February.  The news that Riverwards is still raising money to complete the project “raised additional questions from planning commissioners who feared that if the RiverWards Group got its variances they would only end up building the single-family homes and doing away with plans for the mixed-use buildings,” Blumgart reported.

City Council moves to monitor dangerous Philly intersections

At Monday’s Committee on Public Safety hearing, no one testified against Councilman Curtis Jones’ bill that calls for reviewing a hazardous intersection within 60 days if a council member requests it, WHYY News’ Tom MacDonald reports.

“We want to know if there something we can do — whether it’s adding a stop light, stop sign or speed bump where appropriate to create a safety assist — through the Streets Department,” Jones said. The proposed bill would “require a report, recommendation and appropriate safety improvements regarding hazardous intersections; and...provide for a reward program...to prevent against incidents of pedestrian related deaths, particularly those caused by vehicles that unlawfully pass trolleys or fail to yield to emergency response vehicles.”

Councilman Curtis Jones drafted his bill after 96 people suffered fatal injuries in traffic crashes in Philadelphia last year, MacDonald reports.

On Saturday, a Caviar courier was killed while riding on the Spring Garden bike lane. In a separate incident that took Philadelphia social media by storm this weekend, Jim Saksa reports that Philadelphia police are actively investigating a video posted on Twitter May 10th that appears to show a driver purposefully hitting a cyclist and then driving off.

PSA: A park poll a day…South Philly wins for park pride

In celebration of Love Your Park Week 2018, Connor Barwin's foundation, Make The World Better (MTWB), is sharing a new poll via Twitter each day to get Philadelphians thinking more about parks in the city, especially their local park. Yesterday’s poll, “What part of Philadelphia has the most park pride?” tested neighborhood pride, and South Philly won in spades with 42 percent of the votes! The remaining regions mustered up their best: Northeast Philly came in second with 22 percent, and North Philly and West Philly each got 18 percent of the votes.

Today’s poll:  

On Instagram and Facebook, MTWB is sharing insightful benefits of parks in local communities. As MTWB put it, “parks matter and the more people engage with their local park the better that park and the community will be.” MTWB’s thoughtful park nugget of the day:

How are you showing your community’s park some Philly love this week? PlanPhilly is assembling pictures of LYP Week, share your favorites: Use #PhillyParksLoveUsBack and tag @planphilly on Twitter.

About the author

Diana Lu, Community Engagement Editor

Diana runs PlanPhilly’s community outreach and engagement online and in real life. She has spent more than ten years in the non-profit and public sectors working on urban development issues including environmental justice, design-based manufacturing, and community and economic development.  Prior to joining PlanPhilly, Diana worked as the Director of Partnerships and Outreach for 10,000 Small Businesses, a public-private initiative focused strengthening local businesses through revenue generation and local job creation.  Follow Diana on instagram @dianaluwho and email her at dlu@whyy.org.



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