University City’s proposed extended-stay hotel is seeing a second life after the project’s planners chose to move the proposed site of the Campus Inn from 40th and Pine streets to 41st and Walnut streets.
Developers of the Hilton Homewood Suites hotel project gave a brief presentation to the Philadelphia City Planning Commission last week to move forward on the relocated project.
At the original 40th and Pine site, the 10-story Campus Inn met strong resistance from area residents who feared the size of the building would destroy the character of the neighborhood.
After the two sides reached an impasse earlier this year, Campus Apartments, the primary developer of the project, and Tom Lussenhop, a private developer, began to reevaluate the project and started working on a new proposal.
The new proposed site of the project is 4109 Walnut St., the former site of a “dilapidated old fraternity house,” according to Campus Apartments CEO David Adelman. This location, unlike the previous one, is not owned by the University, but rather by Campus Apartments.
The new site is “easier from a speed, timing, finance-ability and demand [standpoint] to deal with,” Adelman said.
Other than the physical site, Lussenhop said, the specifics of the project have not changed. Priced at $80-90 million, the project would have about 130 extended-stay suites.
During the presentation, Adelman said the development would occur in two phases. Phase one would be the building of the 100,000 square-foot hotel itself, and phase two will consist of the development of adjacent properties to the east, also owned by Campus Apartments, to create 25,000 square feet of mixed-use space.
“[The hotel] can now be the catalyst to a continued redevelopment of this block,” Adelman said.
He added that Campus Apartments’ offices are currently spread across 12 buildings and this site would allow the company to consolidate its offices.
The new plan also proposes the creation of an ‘L’ shaped street from Walnut to 41st streets to divert traffic for the hotel off the main streets, a major concern of opponents to the hotel’s previous location.
During the presentation, Lussenhop noted that the proposed building is well suited to the new location.
“It reads as part of the commercial infrastructure of Walnut Street,” he said.
And the new project is seeing less opposition since the move.
“I’ve individually heard people who were formally against the project who are much more supportive of it in this location,” Lussenhop said.
The original plan also involved a historic property, which created issues for redevelopment.
John Gallery, executive director of the Preservation Alliance, which formerly came out against the project, expressed no concerns with the new proposal.
“As far as I can tell, the current plan does not involve any historic properties nor is it in an historic district,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Therefore we have no comment.”
From here, the developers will work on a detailed site design and floorplan which will be presented for review, and they will formally meet with area residents to discuss the plan.
“We’re really just kicking off now,” Lussenhop said.Comments powered by Disqus
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