Does a Newly-Approved Project Violate Philly's New Waterfront Master Plan?

A proposed waterfront apartment building received final approval from Philadelphia's Historical Commission last week, disappointing waterfront advocates and preservationists who claim its design violates the city's new waterfront master plan.

If, as Inga Saffron claims, "The 180-unit project, designed by BLT Architects, was seen as a test of the Nutter administration's commitment to the waterfront master plan," than surely the administration has failed. With a low-budget facade and inadequate space for ground-floor retail, the building falls short of "the basic goals" of the waterfront master plan, passed in March after nearly a decade of hard work, including the involvement of hundreds of city residents.

Astonishingly, "The project's weaknesses were acknowledged even by the lawyer representing the building's developer. 'I don't think anyone expects this to be a triumph for the waterfront,' Carl Primavera said before arguing that the design was the best developer Louis Cicalese could afford in the current economic climate."

"'What's most upsetting about this decision is that it sets the bar so low,' said Richard Thom, who handles zoning issues for the Old City Civic Association. 'Everything else will be made of Dryvit,' he added, using the brand name for a low-cost stucco finish."
Full Story: Changing Skyline: Proposed Delaware waterfront apartment complex gets approval

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