March 10 GCCA Zoning Committee Meeting

Garden Court Community Association has a regularly scheduled Zoning and Development Committee meeting at 8pm on Wednesday, March 10th. There are no pending zoning cases, so it's a light agenda. We are still meeting virtually, via Zoom; log-in detail are at the bottom of this post.


Meeting Agenda:

  • Zoning cases: none

  • Report: any status updates for ongoing projects of significance (4900 Spruce, 4701 Pine, 303 S. 51st, 314 S 46th Street)

  • 4th Quarter Regional Housing Report - by Kevin Gillen at Drexel's Lindy Institute (not attending)

  • Report: February Garden Court real estate activity - permits issued, home sales, and apartment rentals

  • Public Comment

  • Committee Working Session (closed)

  • Next Meeting: April 14th, 2021


Significant project updates


GCCA zoning is trying to keep tabs on some of the larger scale developments underway in the neighborhood so that we can keep our community informed. From time to time, we may invite developers to provide a community update.


314 S. 46th Street (25 apartments via adaptive re-use of the Good Shepherd Community Church building and erection of a new building on site). Tree service has removed on-site dogwood tree and pruned back the London Plane street tree in preparation for construction. The roof is being replaced because of the condition it was in, and the east a wall of the vestibule is being demolished, per plans, where the new structure will abut it. The concrete contractor is expected to be on site by the end of March. The the developer will at attend a committee meeting in the late spring or early summer to provide a project update, answer questions about construction, and share landscape plans. Stay tuned.


301 S 51st Street (apartments on site of a currently abandoned car service garage on the interior of the block). The project secured zoning permits under previous zoning in 2019; building permits were not yet issued because of non-compliance with the fire code. A hearing with the Board of Safety and Fire Prevention is scheduled for late April to address those issues. However, the developer is considering a new building permit submission to modify the current plans in a manner consistent with the existing zoning approval. The update would eliminate the westernmost of the three proposed buildings (replaced by open/green space), reduce the non-residential space by 2/3), reduce the total unit count by from 30 to 26, and include three below-market units (approximately $500 for a 1BR). Developer is pursuing an easement with the Light of Elmwood Lodge to provide secondary site egress via Spruce Street to address fire safety. The developer met with Neighbors for Healthy Community Development (NHCD) two weeks ago to present this concept and get feedback. They have not yet decided whether to proceed with the Board of Safety and Fire Prevention hearing under existing plans or file for a new building permit under the modified plans.


4900 Spruce Street (150 apartments on a former parking lot). Construction continues. Framing of 7th story is going up, a partial 8th floor amenity level remains.


4701 Pine Street (220 apartments in a 6-story addition over the garage adjacent to the Garden Court Plaza). Structural work in garage expected to begin this winter; start of construction expected to begin in the spring.


4th Quarter Regional Housing Report


Drexel's Lindy Institute releases quarterly reports by housing economist Kevin Gillen (no, he's not attending our meeting) on the state of the housing market (sales, at least, not rental) in the city and region; they provide a strong factual basis for thinking about housing, zoning, etc. Here are links to the most recent report (it's short and meant to read quickly) and its accompanying slides (full of charts). The report packs in a lot of information, but here are some noteworthy things for Garden Court to consider:

  1. Median house price in Philadelphia was over $210,000 in Q4 of 2020, a record. Prices are up 12.8% over the last year, citywide. This is about 3x the city's historic average and higher than Case-Schiller's 10-city composite of 9.8%.

  2. Over 5500 units of housing (single family and multifamily, combined) received building permits in 2020 - more than any year since 1990.

  3. Despite the pace of new housing permits, Philadelphia has just 2.2 months of housing supply (rolling inventory x absorption rate). As a result, and this has been the case since about 2016, the market strongly favors sellers (vs. 5-7 months in a "balanced" market or 8+ months in a "buyers" market), which pushes buyers to bid up prices, waive inspections, etc. Average time on market has fallen to 41 days, the lowest since 2005.

  4. West Philadelphia (beyond University City) had the highest year-over-year rate of price change at 22% of any submarket. Other submarkets with large increases include North Philadelphia (17%), Northwest, (15.7%), and the Upper Northeast (13.1%). Submarkets where prices have risen more for longer like University City (3.2%), Center City (3.9%) and South Philly (5.6%) experienced smaller one-year increases.

  5. West Philadelphia's 40-year housing price index (ie. comparing to its 1980 baseline), which began accelerating beyond other submarkets in 2018, has now reached the level of South Philadelphia and University City.


February Garden Court real estate activity report


RCOs like GCCA are called upon to discuss development proposals requiring variances or civic design review, but those represent a small fraction of real estate activity in any month. In the interest of staying informed of the bigger picture, GCCA Zoning is putting together a monthly report of permits issued (including by-right zoning), homes sales, and apartment rentals in the neighborhood. This is being posted here so neighbors get information without needing to attend the meeting. Special thanks to committee member, Chris Mejia-Smith, with help from Keyana Johnson, for pulling together this information from a variety of sources.


By Right Permits over the last month

  • No zoning permits issued since last report

Recent Home Sales

  • 440 S 49th St: Sold on Feb 12th for $425,216 ($247/sq ft)

  • 4819 Osage Ave: Sold on Feb 26th for $390,000 ($258/sq ft)

  • 4735 Osage Ave: Sold on Feb 25th for $246,000 ($229/sq ft)

  • 4707 Hazel Ave: Sold on Feb 15th for $485,000 ($184/sq ft)

Various Rents across Garden Court (via apartments.com, trulia.com, and hotpads.com)

  • 5134 Spruce St1BR $800

  • 5114 Spruce St2BR $1,200

  • 5049 Spruce St 3BR $1,600

  • 5131 Hazel AveStudio $950

  • 5130 Hazel Ave3BR $1,570

  • 5117 Hazel Ave 2BR $1,225

  • 5031 Hazel Ave 1BR $1,050

  • 5031 Hazel Ave 2BR $1,300

  • 4949 Hazel Ave 3BR $1,800

  • 5007 Pine 1BR $1,100

  • The Willows (242 S 49th St)2BR $896

  • The Willows (242 S 49th St)3BR $1,119

  • Croydon Hall (241 S 49th St)1BR $1,300

  • Croydon Hall (241 S 49th St)2BR $1,600

  • 400 S 49th St #6 2BR $1,300

  • 400 S 49th St #11 1BR $1,100

  • 4902 Pine St1BR $1,100

  • 4900 Pine St #5 2BR $1,400

  • 501 S 49th St #1 1BR $1,220

  • The Terrace (4931 Spruce) Studio $815

  • The Terrace (4931 Spruce) 1BR $925

  • The Sheldrake (4901 Spruce)1BR $865

  • The Sheldrake (4901 Spruce)2BR $1,033

  • The Sheldrake (4901 Spruce)3BR $1,189

  • 4807 Pine St #A2 1BR $995

  • 4815 Pine St #B1 3BR $1,425

  • The Cornerstone (400 S 48th St)Studio $775

  • The Cornerstone (400 S 48th St)2BR $1,200

  • The Cornerstone (400 S 48th St)3BR $1,500

  • Sylvania Gardens (414 S 48th St)Studio $925

  • Sylvania Gardens (414 S 48th St)1BR $1,050

  • The Westover (4720 Pine St)Studio $895

  • The Westover (4720 Pine St)1BR $1,300

  • The Westover (4720 Pine St)2BR $1,700

  • 4742 Pine St #202 1BR $1,670

  • 4742 Pine St #301 1BR $1,550

  • 4748 Pine St #308 1BR $825

  • Garden Court Plaza (4701 Pine)Studio $1,350 - $1,720

  • Garden Court Plaza (4701 Pine)1BR $1,310 - $2,355

  • Garden Court Plaza (4701 Pine)2BR $1,775 - $2,635

  • The Larchmont (500 S 47th St)Studio $1,075

  • 512 S 47th St 2BR $1,200

  • 4646 Hazel Ave 1BR $750

  • 4615 Cedar Ave #2 1BR $1,900

  • 4613 Cedar Ave 2BR $1,575

  • 4617 Spruce St #1F 1BR $1,000

  • 439 S 46th St #B 2BR $1,400

  • 500 S 46th St Unit 1 1BR $1,275

  • 4537 Spruce St #C4 1BR $1,195

  • El Vista (4532 Osage) 1BR $1,500

  • 412 S 45th St #2R Studio $800

  • 430 S 45th St #2B Studio $850

  • 4539 Osage Ave 1BR $975

  • 4537 Osage Ave 1BR $975

  • Spruce Square (4534 Spruce St) 1BR $1,550

  • Spruce Square (4534 Spruce St) 2BR $2,250

  • Pine Tower (4514 Pine St)Studio $1,025

  • 4519 Pine St 3BR $1,835

  • Pine Terrace (324 S 45th St) 1BR $1,065


Details for Joining the Meeting:


Time:  March 10, 2021 08:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Direct Link: https://upenn.zoom.us/j/91979124404?pwd=Q3pYOFpLenBTQW95Sm9aMTRzRmt3dz09

or dial in to: +1-646-558-8656 or +1-301-715-8592 additional numbers at: https://upenn.zoom.us/u/ahHOJpCyM Meeting ID: 919 7912 4404 Passcode: GCCAzoning


Public participants will need to "raise their hand" to be un-muted and ask questions or make comment. GCCA Zoning's regular rules of decorum will apply.



Get involved.


As always, our meetings are public and open for anyone to attend; if you are interested in receiving email updates from the Zoning Committee, or are interested in joining when there is an opening, please email Zoning@GardenCourtCA.org - not yet a GCCA member? Join here!

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