Last week, the ZBA gave final approval to a new development in Graduate Hospital, something folks have become accustomed to in the booming neighborhood immediately south of Rittenhouse Square. But Bloc 23, now set to break ground in early 2013, isn’t your standard G-Ho development. It is receiving overwhelming community support and being heralded as innovative, ambitious and even wonderful. Why the excitement?
The answer lies in its obvious suck-up (in a good way) to the community it will soon reside in. Designed by local firm Campbell Thomas Architects
and Stephen Nebel of Berlin-based LABhaus
, the 5-story mixed-use building aims to please. Bloc 23, which is located at the critical intersection of Grays Ferry and Bainbridge
, just across from the controversial Toll Brothers residential development
, will bring increased retail services, housing choices for a wide range of residents and top quality design.
The building’s retail component, 10,000 square feet in all, will increase residents’ access to neighborhood amenities. Jacqueline Balin of Fameco Real Estate
is handling the commercial leasing for the new space and sees a huge demand for increased retail services in Graduate Hospital. “We’re at a tipping point where demand now exceeds supply,” explains Balin, “the second- and third-generation spaces along South Street are mostly utilized and what the area now needs is bigger, more flexible spaces to accommodate large (restaurants) and retailers.”
Developer Stephen Rodriguez, who lives a few blocks away from the site, agrees with Balin’s sentiment. “Graduate Hospital is one of the only neighborhoods that doesn’t actively take advantage of their 5-point intersections,’ says Rodriguez. “This development can jumpstart a small ‘urban village’ along Grays Ferry, full of restaurants and retail services for residents to enjoy.”
To that effort, Rodriguez has indicated outdoor seating is planned for the retail spaces, with the idea of creating a more cohesive public realm in the area.
Increasing housing diversity and choice for potential homebuyers is another Bloc 23 feat. “We wanted to appeal to a wide range of homebuyers,” says Rodriguez, who plans to move his family into one of the 24 condos once complete. “The 600 square foot units appeal to young professionals or Penn students while the 2,600 square foot units can be a townhouse alternative for families.” Bedroom sizes also vary; anything from 1-4 bedroom units can be found in Bloc 23.
Future residents will enjoy the many high design features that will come with their new digs. Private and shared terraces, a green roof and underground parking truly are a few of the many amenities the developer has planned for Bloc 23. To top it off, the structure’s modular construction status makes it on the front lines of green technology and sustainable development.
Rodriguez believes that if all goes according to plan, Bloc 23 will be completed in fall of next year. From there, he hopes to start on the project’s second phase, at 611-615 S. 24th Street
. Rodriguez and Balin have indicated phase two will feature similar community minded features as well.
:Jacqueline Balin, Fameco Real Estate; Stephen Rodriguez, Local developer
: Greg Meckstroth