Renderings have been revealed for a five-story, 51-unit multi-family development located at 800-30 Vine Street in Chinatown, Center City. Designed by WRT Design and developed by Pennrose, the development will feature units designated as affordable housing for senior citizens and will include parking for 11 cars.
The new building will have a modern exterior that makes use of economic materials that have been used on other similar affordable housing projects throughout the city in the past. The ground floor will include brick that matches the surrounding neighborhood styles, and makes for a more pleasant street presence. The upper floors, will be predominantly clad in white metal paneling, making for a somewhat dull look, although brightly colored paneling accents can be found near windows and vertical rows rising up to the top of the structure.
A curb cut will be created on the sidewalk to serve the parking space included with the project, which is unfortunately situated on the surface. While a small outdoor amenity area will create a nice space for building residents, the adjacent surface parking is unfortunate. The reason for the building’s unusual triangular shape and surface parking on a large portion of the site is due to the underground SEPTA tracks along the ridge spur, which has a stop farther south on the block.
Currently, the site at hand is entirely covered with surface parking space, as is the vast majority of the rest of the block. Development proposals have come and gone on this block, which persists in its auto-oriented state likely in part due to the tracks beneath the block, which impact building footprint and usable space along the block. Nevertheless, seeing this prime location handed near entirely to parking space just a block from Franklin Square and a variety of businesses is very disappointing.
The new development will have a rather mixed impact once completed. The addition of 51 affordable residential units in this location is an obvious improvement over the existing parking lot and is fantastic for the neighborhood. However, the scale of the development seems somewhat small, as the site could likely support a much larger building with even more residential space that would further benefit the area. While the surface parking lot included with the project makes sense given the property’s considerations, it is still disappointing land use, especially given the presence of a subway station on that very block, and the walkable nature of the surrounding environment.
Lastly, the design could certainly use a bit of further refinement. It is important to use more affordable building materials to have more affordable resents within new developments, but this usage of teal paneling may not age well.
No completion date is known for the project at this time, tough YIMBY will continue to monitor progress moving forward.