Source: Curbed Philadelphia
Byline: Melissa Romero
Date: 3/7/2017

At a community meeting last night, two developers presented their proposals for 800-30 Vine Street in Chinatown to a standing-room only crowd and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA), which owns the property.

The PRA began acquiring the parcels in 1966 and finished in 2016 with 140,000 square feet total. In September of that year, it issued a request for proposals (RFP) for developers to purchase and develop the CMX4-zoned land with a project that would provide “social impact.” Ultimately, Parkway Corporation and Pennrose submitted proposals, presenting two very different visions for the site to hundreds of people who attended last night’s meeting.

The PRA noted in their RFP that it’s a complex site, in that much of the parcels cannot be developed because of two rail tunnels and a sewer easement that run beneath the land. Developers also had to take into account that Chinatown in general is largely separated from the rest of the city by the Vine Street Expressway and lacks green space, senior affordable housing, or community gathering space.

With that in mind, here’s what Parkway Corp. and Pennrose brought to the table.

Proposals for 800-30 Vine Street

Category Parkway Corp. Pennrose
Project name Another Village N/A
Architect Cecil Baker + Partners Wallace Roberts and Todd: WRT Design
Number of buildings 3 (2 condo buildings, 1 senior affordable housing) 4 (1 senior housing, 1 hotel, 1 apartment building, 1 Equal Justice Center)
Max building heights 6 stories 14 stories
Retail square footage 26,000 sq. ft. 20,000 sq. ft.
Senior affordable housing 60 1-bedroom units 55-65 1- and 2-bedroom units
Condos 125 units (~$300K for a 1BR to ~$500K for a 3BR) Not included
Rentals Not included 160 studio, 1BR, and 2BR units (~$1,500-$2,200)
Noteworthy amenities An “intergenerational” playground and a 6,000-square-foot urban farm run by Helios, which will grow its own produce to be sold at 2/3 the average price to an on-site grocery store A 14-story, 160,000-square-foot Equal Justice Center, which would house legal services for the community under one roof; an 8-story, 147-bed Comfort Inn Hotel
Parking 181 spaces (with potential for up to 231 total) 143 spaces

After each developer’s 30-minute presentations, they answered a half-hour’s worth of what was mostly positive and inquisitive questions and input from the community. Councilman Mark Squilla said the PRA would use the feedback to help pick one of the two proposals and move forward.

PRA director Greg Heller said that once the agency selects a proposal, it will be followed by “several months” of working out an agreement that will then need approval from the Board of Directors. The proposal will then seek City Council approval.