Development across from Clark Park awaits zoning board approval


The building could host a restaurant with outdoor seating facing the park




Although plans are becoming more concrete, construction is still months away for the restaurant and residences coming to 43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue.

At a meeting on March 26, developer U3 Ventures presented its revised proposal for the mixed-use building to nearly 90 community members and the Spruce Hill Zoning Committee. The plan aims for 132 units of one to three bedroom apartments and condos as well as 17,000 square feet of retail space.

Community members at the meeting expressed concern that the new building will be out of character with the surrounding Victorian homes.

The owners of 4224 Baltimore, the Clarkmore Group, LLC, have "as of right" permission to construct a 92-unit residential building without retail. Since the design lacks retail and parking, it meets existing zoning board regulations and therefore bypasses direct community approval. “General consensus is that the as of right project is something [the community is] not in support of,” Spruce Hill Zoning Committee Chair Barry Grossbach said.

The new project by U3 Ventures grew out of community distaste for the as of right project.

The building will be divided into two connected sections — a five-story segment of condos on 43rd Street and an eight-story section along Baltimore Avenue that will include apartments and a 10,000-square-foot fitness center. Plans for 4224 Baltimore also include a restaurant with outdoor seating facing Clark Park.

U3 Ventures is currently in informal talks with retailers for the space. Additional retail options include a dry cleaner, and the School of Veterinary Medicine has also expressed an interest in the development.

Condos will cost around $450 per square foot and apartments will be priced at $1,700 to $2,000 per month. The developers hope to attract young professionals working at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia or the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

“Right now the zoning committee is still discussing the process moving forward and the next step,” Grossbach said. “The feedback we had gotten from the meeting was for the most part positive.”

The developers next need to apply for zoning approval from the community. The zoning board will hear the developer’s testimony and go over plans before making a decision. Grossbach added that, when and if U3 Ventures gets to zoning, the process will probably take several months.

“When you’re dealing with zoning and with complicated projects you never know how it will go,” Grossbach said.

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