Planning Commission Meeting Elicits Fears Of Displacement In Point Breeze


Proposed development at 2012-2020 Wharton Street | Rendering: JKR Partners

Proposed development at 2012-2020 Wharton Street | Rendering: JKR Partners

  • Charges of racism were flung yesterday at the City Planning Commission after commissioners unanimously voted to support zoning variances sought for a 46-single-family home development at 20th & Wharton Streets, reports PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey. Tiffany Green and Theresa McCormick of Concerned Citizens of Point Breeze vigorously opposed developer Howard Silverman proposal for the vacant lot, stating a commercial development—such as a supermarket—would be more appropriate and beneficial to the neighborhood than a mixed-income residential takeover. After both sides made it clear that any further discussions between the two would likely prove fruitless, commissioner Beth Miller moved to recommend support if the basic issue at stake was acceptance of the South District Plan’s residential vision for this site.
  • Peering back to the South Broad Street of a century ago, The Philly History Blog’s Ken Finkel marvels at the arresting effect afforded by the original 1912 design of Edward P. Simon and David B. Bassett’s Manufacturers’ Clubhouse on Walnut Street. By all means impressive to any modern theater-goer, the 10-story Manufacturers’ Club of the WWI years was absolutely captivating, capped by a cantilevered cornice so audacious that it unnerved enough pedestrians underneath to force its eventual removal. Such visual crescendoes, says Finkel, were “declarations of potency, demonstrations of consequence transforming buildings into destinations and citizens into spectators.”
  • Flying Kite fills us in on the January 11 meeting of the Callowhill Neighborhood Association, during which Interface Studio Architects’ Brian Phillips briefed neighbors on Callahan Ward’s planned 20,000-square-foot residential project on the 1300 block of Spring Garden Street. Assuming the zoning board okays a variance being sought for a surface parking lot, work on these 36 residential units, evenly dispersed among four separate structures, could begin as early as late this year. The design of the ground-floor units is quite flexible, explains Phillips, as their open floor plan could easily allow for conversion into commercial spaces down the road.
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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