Appeal Filed To Save Norris Square Banks

 

Photo: Hidden City Daily

A. Jordan Rushie, the Fishtown lawyer representing two residents of Hope Street near Front in Norris Square, Karen Lewis and Carmen Bolden, has filed an appeal to the Zoning Board of Adjustment’s August ruling in favor of demolishing two historically and architecturally significant banks at Front and Norris. The August ruling would allow the Women’s Community Revitalization Project to construct 25 units of low-income housing on the site.

The appellants contend that the project was approved over the strong opposition of neighborhood groups, including New Kensington CDC and East Kensington Neighbors, and that, furthermore, it is WCRP’s duty to prove that a change in zoning at the site to allow for the residential units was a financial hardship. According to Rushie, they contend that instead, “the ZBA pushed the burden on those in opposition to show why WCRP should not be granted a variance. The ZBA should have placed the burden on WCRP to show why there is an undue hardship to use the property commercially, which my clients contend WCRP could not demonstrate. Commercial development makes the most sense under the El.”

The appellants also believe the site short-changes the potential low-income residents, cramming them into a space under the El, when there are acres of vacant land nearby. The site should remain commercial, they say, siting the 100 or so businesses that operate under the EL, nearby.

The monumental banks, built for financial institutions that supported the neighborhood’s historic textile trade, are in severely compromised condition. Purchased by the Norris Square Civic Association, the organization that still holds the note on the property, in 1989, they were allowed to deteriorate despite potential deals to rehab and reuse them. The two buildings are part of a proposed textile industry thematic federal historic district that is proposed by the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia.

The appeal date has not yet been set.

About the author

Nathaniel Popkin is co-editor of the Hidden City Daily and author of three books of non-fiction, including the forthcoming Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City (Temple Press) and a novel, Lion and Leopard (The Head and the Hand Press). He is the senior writer of the film documentary "Philadelphia: The Great Experiment."



3 Comments


  1. Good for the residents to appeal this. It is very upsetting when organizations let beautiful buildings deteriorate and then later claim hardship and demolish them. This is unacceptable. It is great they are working to help low-income individuals, but they should keep a broader viewpoint of how their actions affect the Philadelphia Landscape as a whole.

  2. THAT’S RIGHT…APPEAL THIS DECISION!! Lots of mty places to build ugly housing , why knock down these two buildings ? Mothball them for now , build housing on all those mty lots , and when you get a critical mass
    Of people in the areal some one will want to develope those properties. Or you can give them to a real organization like unv of penn to reuse as long as they save them.. Why would you destroy these two when you have MANY mty lots? SIMPLE ! FOLLOW THE MONEY TRAIL. who’s been paid off ? Who’s on the take , who benefits from the destruction of these two buildings…. Some ones palm is getting greased!! And the public gets screwed…….

  3. Great job again. Thank you Hidden City .. I sure hope this appeal puts these people in there place this issue should have never gone this far,But here it is keep us posted !

Trackbacks

  1. Rooftop farm planned for SHARE | ‘Waterfront Setback’ zoning | Finnegan’s Wake balconies vetoed | Kensington bank demo appealed

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Wayne Junction Moves Forward With Revitalization

Wayne Junction Moves Forward With Revitalization

September 20, 2017  |  News

Developer Ken Weinstein unveils transit-oriented development plans for Wayne Junction district. GroJLart has the story > more

Inside Northeast Philly's Temple Of Ryerss

Inside Northeast Philly’s Temple Of Ryerss

September 19, 2017  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. takes us on a fall field trip to the Ryerss Mansion, an eccentric, little-known house museum in the Great Northeast > more

Unlisted Philadelphia: Locust Theatre

Unlisted Philadelphia: Locust Theatre

September 14, 2017  |  Unlisted Philadelphia

Ben Leech spotlights unique and significant buildings not listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places with his architectural illustration series, Unlisted Philadelphia. In this installment, a marvelous movie house in West Philly > more

Monument Lab: A City-Wide Art Museum That Asks Us To

Monument Lab: A City-Wide Art Museum That Asks Us To “Leave Fingerprints”

September 13, 2017  |  Vantage

We ought to write our own history, say the organizers of Monument Lab, who launch their multi-week public art and civic introspection festival today in the wake of Charlottesville, Dallas, and Durham. Nathaniel Popkin catches up with Monument Lab founder Paul Farber, who asks us all, "What is an appropriate monument for Philadelphia today?" > more

An Original Keeps It Classy On Chestnut Street

An Original Keeps It Classy On Chestnut Street

September 12, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

From furniture and furnace manufacturing to a 1980s video arcade, 1606 Chestnut Street has kept busy for 127 years. The Shadow has the details on this Center City standout > more

Skid Row Deaths Of 1963 Echoes Today's Opioid Crisis

Skid Row Deaths Of 1963 Echoes Today’s Opioid Crisis

September 8, 2017  |  Vantage

Steve Metraux takes a look at the "Canned Heat Wave" poisoning of 1963 that took the lives of 31 people on Skid Row. The public health scholar says the parallels between this tragic incident and Kensington's opioid crisis is telling > more