West Philly to receive 204-unit apartment complex near 52nd Street El stop

A 204-unit apartment complex planned near the 52nd Street stop on SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line would include 41 affordable units that rent for $700 for a one-bedroom or $900 for a two-bedroom.

Located at 5235 Chestnut St., the complex is the largest development proposed in West Philadelphia within an area covered by a zoning overlay created by Councilman Jamie Gauthier that requires large developments to include 20% of their units are rented at 40% of the sale price. area median income (currently $32,125 for a single-person household).

“This proposed new development demonstrates that the private market can still make a profit while keeping 20% ​​of its units deeply affordable,” Gauthier said in a statement. “We always knew it would take some time for developers to adapt to the Mixed Income Neighborhood Overlay, but I’m sure this project is just one of many.”

” READ MORE: What is a zoning overlay and why does Philadelphia have so many?

The developer is Jon Adler, vice president of investments at OCF Realty, but he has developed a variety of projects independently. He is developing this project on his behalf. under the name Big Shot 52 LLC.

Adler said that while developing in the affordable housing zone is difficult, the project is feasible due to the size of the property he was able to acquire, which covers almost an entire city block, and the proximity to the 52nd Street stop.

It also works because the project will not include parking.

This is due to another zoning overlay covering the transit station and the blocks immediately surrounding it that, combined with the incentives in Gauthier’s affordable housing overlay, eliminates parking requirements. This reduces construction costs and allows more housing units to be built.

“Making the numbers work for this project is a big challenge,” Adler said. “It is the scale allowed by these overlays that makes the project possible.”

The majority of the project largely faces Ludlow Street, although a second, smaller building will face Chestnut Street. Both buildings are six stories tall and between them will include 1,882 square feet of commercial space.

The project consists primarily of studio and one-bedroom units. A handful of two-bedroom units have been included at Gauthier’s insistence.

Adler emphasized that the buildings are not intended for students, but rather for young professionals, especially those who want to travel primarily by public transportation, by bicycle and on foot.

“Where you are close to public transportation, it is especially important to have additional housing, especially for people who work at universities or in the city center,” Adler said.

He said it was difficult to project market prices three years from now when the building opens, but that today one bedroom would be in the $1,200 per month range and two bedrooms in the $1,600 range.

“This will be a much more modest type of building than what’s happening a few blocks to the east or south,” Adler said.

The project can move forward without having to go before the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment, but it does require a review by the Civic Design Review committee. This board of architects and planners provides advice to developers to help their projects better fit the city and neighborhood. Your suggestions are not binding.

Before the Civic Design Review on June 4, the developer must meet with the local Registered Community Organization (RCO). Adler and his team met with the Cobbs Creek Neighborhood Association last night.

“What makes me feel most comfortable is that it’s very close to 52nd and Market streets,” said James Wright, chairman of the Cobbs Creek Neighbors zoning committee. “I certainly don’t want more buildings of this type too far from commercial corridors.”

Wright emphasized that he was not speaking on behalf of the neighborhood group, only offering his own thoughts.

He noted that the lack of parking often causes controversy in the neighborhood, but the fact that it is so close to the Market Frankford line made a difference for him. Wright also praised the inclusion of more affordable units.

“I imagine the way these units are set up there won’t be as many people with a car,” Wright said. “Because they’re not really family size.”