May 12 GCCA Zoning Meeting

Garden Court Community Association has a regularly scheduled Zoning and Development Committee meeting at 8pm on Wednesday, May 12th. 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

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

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

  • 3. Historic Preservation initiative update

  • 4. Presentation: Councilperson Gauthier's housing affordability report (Jamie Kudera)

  • Public Comment

  • Committee Working Session (closed)

  • Next Meeting: June 10th, 2021


1. Significant project updates


GCCA zoning is trying to keep tabs on some of the larger scale developments underway in the neighborhood so that we provide our community with neutral, fact-based information about what's happening. From time to time, we may invite developers to provide a community update and answer questions.


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). The roof has been replaced, foundation for the new structure is complete, and vertical framing of the new building and the interior of the existing building have begun. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2021. The developer is expected to attend our June committee meeting 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 in the interior of the block). A zoning permit was issued in 2019; a building permit has not been due to non-compliance with the fire code. An April Board of Safety and Fire Prevention hearing was rescheduled again until June as the developer continues discussion with Neighbors for Healthy Community Development.


4900 Spruce Street (150 apartments on a former parking lot). Construction continues. Developer expects the project to be complete by about February of 2022.


4701 Pine Street (220 apartments in a 6-story addition over the garage adjacent to the Garden Court Plaza). Structural work in the garage is expected to begin in June, with construction to begin in earnest in the fall once construction drawings are finished and contracting bids are received.



2. March 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

  • 546 S 45th St: Proposed Cell Phone Store on Existing Commercial Space

Recent Home Sales

  • 5115 Delancey: $100k ($133/sqft)

  • 4938 Hazel: $392k ($163/sqft)

  • 4516 Osage #3: $478k ($331/sqft)

  • 5141 Delancey: $275k ($218/sqft)

  • 5102 Spruce: $412k ($143/sqft)

  • 5121 Hazel: $560k ($216/sqft)

  • 4742 Pine #301: $290k ($329/sqft)

  • 4732 Osage: $375; ($253/sqft)

  • 47 University Mews: $639k ($346/sqft)

The chart below shows median sale prices (and prices per square foot) in Garden Court, organized by school catchment. As we continue to collect this data, we will see which trends emerge to inform our understanding of the housing market in Garden Court.


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



The chart below shows median rents for listed apartments of various sizes. As we continue to collect this data, we will see which trends emerge to inform our understanding of the rental market in Garden Court.


3. Historic Preservation Initiative Update:


Several months ago, a zoning committee working group began an exploring the idea of nominating a local historic district to the Philadelphia Historic Commission, using the 1984 National Register Nomination, (which does not protect from demolition or insensitive renovation) as a starting point. At its May 3 meeting, the GCCA Board voted to continue the process by starting community conversations on the topic to hear from neighbors and understand how much interest there is in pursuing such a district.


The 1984 National Register district recognizes the 1920s neighborhood - distinct from its late Victorian surrounding - defined by a harmonious variety of housing types, a blend of arts+crafts and Art Deco styles, front gardens and sunrooms, and rear alleys and garages. It is generally bound by 46th Street, 49th Street, Larchwood Avenue, and Pine Street, including the 4900 block of Pine Street; the 4500 block of Larchwood and the 500 block of Melville may fit the same criteria. This is a starting point for considering a local district, but is far from set on stone.


At this, our May zoning meeting, we're not yet starting a whole discussion, but will share some of what we've learned and the process we anticipate for getting community input before deciding whether to proceed with a nomination. In short, the plan is to post information on the GCCA website and go out and meet with groups of blocks. We will share what we know, but mostly LISTEN to our neighbors over the next several months and ask them what questions they have about an historic district before deciding whether they'd support or oppose creating one. We'll then do our research, and come back to our neighbors with answers to their most frequent questions. We expect that sometime in the fall, we will conduct a poll to gauge block-by-block interest in being included. Based on that input, we'll make draft boundary recommendation to the GCCA board and whether to proceed with the nominating process in 2022. Stay tuned.



4. Councilperson's Housing Affordability Report:


In November, Councilperson Gauthier released a Third District Affordable Housing Study, which includes a housing market report and a strategic planning tool. Jamie Kudera, a GCCA member and 46-19 democratic committee person has volunteered to present a summary of the study's key findings. Thank you, Jamie!



Details for Joining the Meeting:


Time:  May 12, 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! Our geographic boundaries are 45th Street, Cedar Avenue, 52nd Street, and Locust.


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