Old West Philadelphia High School
What's the plan for the old West Philly high school? I was in Portland and went to this bizarrely awesome venue called the Kennedy School. It was an old school that had been converted into a hotel with bars, restaurants, a theater, and concert hall run by a local brewery. The brewery operates a number of uniquely reused venues and are outrageously successful.
Turn on the Lights at Market East!
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Obviously it isn't working.
I think I've mentioned the Kennedy School specifically in relation to the old West building in other threads.
Originally Posted by DCnPhilly
Considering the school district's current fiscal predicament, a lot of conditions of sale have dropped by the wayside. I think if you have $6.5 million to spend its yours, basically.
School district nearing sale of old West Philly High, other vacant buildings | PlanPhilly: Planning Philadelphia's Future
City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell of West Philadelphia's third district says school officials will soon decide between offers from private developers who want to convert the 250,000-square-foot school building at 47th and Walnut into a mix of retail and residential units.
"What I believe will happen is that we'll end up with mixed use on the first floor and then residential stuff above it," said Blackwell.
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I'm told West has a pool in the basement, albeit in need of repair. Thats a definite plus for residential.
Important meeting Saturday on sale of West Philadelphia High School | West Philly Local
The School District of Philadelphia will be asking for input on the sale of the old West Philadelphia High School (47th and Walnut) during a public meeting Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. at the new West Philadelphia High School (4901 Chestnut St.).
Old West Philly High likely to become lofts aimed at grad students, faculty | West Philly Local
To the surprise of no one, parking for the apartment conversion is a community concern. Does the 30% of residents projected to have cars sound about right? To me it does but I was in the area as an undergrad.
The ground floor of the building will house about 15,000 square feet of retail space and include businesses “geared toward enhancing the lifestyles of the building’s residents.”
Bank said the target demographic for the project included residents in their mid 20s to mid 50s associated with the universities. The project would be the largest private residential building aimed primarily at university-associated tenants west of 47th Street.
Bank said he expected rents to start at $800-$850 per month for a studio of about 400 square feet and that new residents will likely be able to move in by 2016.
Interesting that the Windermere people are apparently waiting until after the sale of old West Philly High to decide what to do with their giant fenced in lot.
Last edited by annie; 11-10-2012 at 04:28 PM.
I wasn't able to attend, but am guessing there were very mixed feelings about the proposal. I am sure this went over like a lead balloon with some folks who have been hoping for a community center and/or senior housing...which is pure fantasy when this building will cost many millions to renovate after the $6 million pricetag. Funny thing about opposition to "new" university-oriented housing is that there were already lots of university students and employees living at the Windermere before it burned down.
Originally Posted by annie
I am keeping my fingers crossed this doesn't end up like the Apple Lofts project. I don't see the Walnut Hill Community Association opposing it and there are no other organized groups around here, so...
As for parking, between this and the Croydon development it will probably get a bit tight around here. I am fine with having to circle the block a few times to find a spot if it means THERE ARE PEOPLE LIVING HERE and not abandoned buildings.
Garden Court's boundary is on the other side of Locust so I don't know if that's close enough to count as a Registered Community Organization for zoning. The other issue is if council successfully amends the new, barely two months old, zoning code it could mean more parking is mandated. The developer doesn't seem to mind more parking because he can make money off it (and so the parking would potentially be built in to the price of the apts making them even less affordable and just thinking about this stupidity already gives me a headache).
Originally Posted by walnuthill
It appears the developer wants to use the giant sidewalk along Walnut for greenspace and parking. Frankly, there's a lot of unused parking in the area I see at night, especially along the 4700-4800 blocks of Spruce Street. Some guy frequently parks his tractor trailer along Lea's play yard fer chrissakes.
There's already bitching about the studios starting at $800/month but six years ago when I was apartment shopping studios in unrenovated, no amenities buildings south of Baltimore were already at or close to $700.
I don't think Garden Court would oppose it either. And we don't seem to have a group like Cedar Park Point Neighbors, or whatever that crazy one-man opposition show is called over in your neck of the woods. Or am I mixing him up with the ladies at 46th and Baltimore? Anyway, you get my point. I am sure there will be some individuals who oppose this, but I don't seen an organized group with influence opposing it.
Originally Posted by annie
Community Achievement Association and they tend to come out of the woodwork so that's the worry. If this place sells for $6.5 million, what's the potential annual real estate property tax I wonder? If it's explained that it's either $6.5 million to the school district plus X amount annually to the city and school district or sell to a non-profit for $1 and annual no real estate property taxes, maybe people will be more likely to go with the money for the city and schools plan.
Originally Posted by walnuthill
This is awesome news if it goes through. Money for the school district when they are taking out bonds just to cover operating expenses right now (equivalent of paying your rent with a credit card), property taxes in the future. A historic building get saved.
A few weeks back sometime just after dark a young woman on a bike asked me at 49th and Baltimore if 40th and Market was the nearest El stop and I started to say 46th was much closer. An older African American man interjected "a skinny white girl like you should just go to 40th St. It's not safe." I'm not sure if I would agree but safety is something of an issue that more housing near that stop helps to improve. This and Orens Bros finally starting at the Croydon are good news for El riders.
I tend to think Jannie will squash opposition rather indirectly rally it if she believes the School District views this as a done and fiscally necessary deal.
Interesting the winning bid was NY based developer.
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