CDR Blasts “Amateurish” Design For Callowhill Mixed-Use


Architects have been asked to reconsider their designs for 146 apartments and 12 commercial spaces on Callowhill Street's 900 block. | Rendering: T.C. Lei & Associates

Architects T.C. Lei & Associates have been asked to reconsider their designs for 146 apartments and 12 commercial spaces on Callowhill Street’s 900 block. | Rendering: T.C. Lei & Associates

  • The Civic Design Review Committee was not impressed with Wing Lee Investments’ mixed-use proposal at 9th & Callowhill Streets, asking the architects from  T.C. Lei & Associates to reconsider their botched design and come back next month, reports PlanPhilly. Committee member Cecil Baker was candid in his reaction, calling the plans “amateurish” and enumerating a few “red flags.” Baker observed that the sidewalks are too narrow, the trees too many, and much of the design’s 146 apartment units have been irrationally laid out, betraying an ignorance to the stipulations of the American with Disabilities Act in the process. Yesterday’s meeting wasn’t all preliminary critique. Two other projects in the pipeline received the committee’s endorsement: Streamline Solutions’ residential/industrial incubator “Techadelphia” building on American Street and Wexford’s proposed redevelopment of 3675 Market Street.
  • Pearl Properties principal James Pearlstein is calling “The Beacon”—his firm’s redevelopment of the Brown Brothers Harriman Co. building at 1529-33 Walnut Street as an Under Armour retail location—their “most ambitious project to date.” He informs Property that the 10,000-square-foot anchor space will be topped with 100 apartments, adding that DAS Architects’ 12-story design highlights “Philadelphia’s old and new by combining the modern finishes of a newly constructed high-rise, while preserving and incorporating the timeless architecture of the six story corner masonry building.”
  • Hundreds gathered in celebration at the historic Mothel Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in honor of the release of the U.S. Postal Service’s newest Forever Stamp depicting that congregation’s founder, bishop Richard Allen (1760-1831) reports NewsWorks. Richard S. Newman, historian and director of the Library Company of Philadelphia, makes the case that Allen should be considered a founding father with his book, “Freedom’s Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers.”
  • Since 2009, NextFab has offered collaborative “makerspace” at their flagship location at 2025 Washington Ave, pooling the equipment and expertise needed to remodel and reignite American manufacturing, says marketing director Laate Oluko­tun. Star News stops by the organization’s latest expansion, a 4,000-square-foot space at 1227 North 4th Street in South Kensington. The new location has held weekly walk-in studio sessions since opening last April to familiarize residents of the deindustrialized neighborhood with what can be learned and crafted for a $49 monthly membership. The last two open studio sessions will be held tonight and next week.
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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  1. In quite a few of the articles on HC it sure seems to me that a lot of apartments are being built in the city……….a lot! Guess there is a need, haven’t lived in Philly in a very long time. Always seem to me to be the city of houses…..albeit….small houses but houses not apartments. Enjoy your articles Stephen.

  2. The new zoning seems to encourage density over livability. Who will live in these apartments and condos when business continues to be driven out of the city? I think the planning commission or zoning board has overreacted to the sometimes admirable recommendations of “new urbanists” who could use a bit more experience in the real world – just my unpopular view…

    That said I like the “Beacon” building proposal.

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