Berks + Girard lot

Skymama1's picture

I know this has been previously discussed - But, what can be done about the empty lot at Berks + Girard. I know there were issues with designs to build a condo there - instead, it has become a dumping ground, next to a day care + three doors down from the police station. It disgusts me -Nothing says, 'Welcome to Fishtown' like a trash strewn empty lot! What can be done about getting this lot cleaned up?? Thanks!

kdubs215's picture

Well I heard its up for 1.2

Well I heard its up for 1.2 million ??? W.T.F
Id rather it get paved and let the 26th use it then let it look like that . IT would be a great location for shops and apartments on top ???

jmminarik's picture

It would also be a great

It would also be a great place for a real community center...one big enough to host a stage/auditorium, meeting rooms, kitchen, etc. These functional are all being served out of a tiny rec or many of the old churches.

tudor's picture

It sounds like someone that

It sounds like someone that wants to build condos owns it now though. What are the rules on sites being developed? I thought you had to keep them clean and free of debris at least.

Jeffro's picture

So long as my rent doesn't

So long as my rent doesn't get drastically raised, I don't care what happens with it. I do see some skater kids on it alot. That's fun. At least someone's getting good use out of the land. I like skater kids better than the stupid tanning salon that usedta be there.

athrahans's picture

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Jabara Fractus's picture

The current owner presented

The current owner presented a project that included something like 16 condos but wanted to build 4 stories which is technically not allowed. The local neighbors on Flora Street weren't crazy about that idea. The developer came back with a revised version of the project which was arguably more "conventional" - three stories, ground floor commercial but, to my knowledge has not proceeded with the plans. My guess is that financing dried up and he's sitting on it for the time being. Incidently, the owner is the same owner of the building next to the Green Tree that is currently being renovated (the one where they removed the entire front facade).

He is legally required to keep up his lot. If enough people were to file complaints, he might be more compelled to clean it up. The lot really is disgusting and the neighbors have commented on this each time he has presented a project. In his defense, he did actually clean it up once. Amazing how quickly the garbage collects.

lauraska's picture

Is the lot accessible? The

Is the lot accessible? The ideal situation would be that the owner would own up and clean the lot, but if he doesn't, perhaps a group of concerned neighbors should just go in there and clean it up themselves. That's what we do up here in the evil East Kenzo, when a lot gets bad and the owner is unresponsive.

Just an idea.

Jabara Fractus's picture

The lot would require some

The lot would require some heavy lifting to clean up.
BTW, here is who you call:

Complaints about a citizen’s property such as violations against the property maintenance code (e.g. high weeds, rodent infestation), questions about whether work being performed has the proper permits and complaints about unsafe structures are just some of the types of complaints handled by L&I. You may make a formal complaint to L&I by calling (215) 686-2463

kdubs215's picture

Well the neighbors shouldnt

Well the neighbors shouldnt open thier mouths IF they shot down a proposal . Unless its a crackhouse or speakeasy NOTHING should get turned down . It looks like crap there now imagine if the guy built there like he wanted . IMO if someone is building residential on a lot no one should be able to say a word about it . It would only make our neighborhood better .. Like i said I guess you can build five or six store fronts with big apt's on the 2nd and 3rd floor that would be nice

karp's picture

the neighbors were able to

the neighbors were able to vote on this proposal because it was seeking several variances and not following the philly zoning code. neighbors should and will always get to vote on a project that is not following zoning code. if the developer wants to follow the zoning code then they can build by right with only building permits but they have to meet the c-2 zoning of that site. (not taller than 35' and can only have certain types of commercial, etc..).

If people were able to build any non crackhouse structures they please we would have a 250' tall hotel being built at the beer city location across the street with a revolving olive garden on top. (no joke, that actually was the proposal).

brooke's picture

Wow...kdubs...I'm sure

Wow...kdubs...I'm sure they'd be THRILLED to have you on the zoning committee.

Jabara Fractus's picture

There were a number of

There were a number of neighbors that would disagree with your assessment as it would apply to this property. While the trash-filled wasteland is nothing but pretty, many neighbors had legitimate concerns about what was being proposed.

Not all residential projects would make our neighborhood better. There have been multiple examples where the better use was something other than residential. Case in point: the Jacob Holtz building. The original proposal was for condos, then affordable housing. Ultimately, the developer sought using the building for office/studio space and the neighbors (who turned out in great numbers) agreed that this is the best use for this building. I think many neighbors realize that over-saturating our neighborhood with residential projects is not a good thing and that having a good mix of uses keeps our neighborhood sustainable.

Jabara Fractus's picture

jmminarik wrote:It would

jmminarik wrote:

It would also be a great place for a real community center...one big enough to host a stage/auditorium, meeting rooms, kitchen, etc. These functional are all being served out of a tiny rec or many of the old churches.

That would be a great use for that lot. It's location makes it a kind of gateway into the neighborhood. Now, how to convince the developer that there's money to be made in building community centers ;)

kdubs215's picture

brooke

brooke wrote:

Wow...kdubs...I'm sure they'd be THRILLED to have you on the zoning committee.

Oh we would have no lots in the city .... I just think its insane to fight someone who owns a piece of land that size and wants to put housing there or stores ?? It looks like crap .... My friend just built down on allen and people always tried to stick thier nose in HIS business and he would laugh at them ..
Should you know whats going on YES but have a say in it NO ...
KW ------@

brooke's picture

But look at Kentucky Fried

But look at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Is it better to have a vacant lot or a vacant building? I remember the vacant lot there and maybe there could have been a better use.

Jabara Fractus's picture

kdubs215 wrote:brooke

kdubs215 wrote:
brooke wrote:

Wow...kdubs...I'm sure they'd be THRILLED to have you on the zoning committee.

Oh we would have no lots in the city .... I just think its insane to fight someone who owns a piece of land that size and wants to put housing there or stores ?? It looks like crap .... My friend just built down on allen and people always tried to stick thier nose in HIS business and he would laugh at them ..
Should you know whats going on YES but have a say in it NO ...
KW ------@

Keep in mind that the neighbors' input has nothing to do with "sticking their noses" in someones' business. When neighbors are given an opportunity to comment and vote their support for a project, it is because the developer/builder is requesting a variance from the Philadelphia Zoning Code. In effect, the developer/builder is asking for permission to deviate from a set of rules that have been put in place for public safety and welfare. Once the developer seeks to deviate from these rules, his "business" automatically becomes a matter of public concern.

NEW KENZO's picture

perhaps a dog park

perhaps a dog park

Skymama1's picture

Jeffro - I agree that it is

Jeffro - I agree that it is nice to see some skaters using it - I just worry that they'll slice themselves on the mounds of broken glass!! I also live right there and just think it is an eyesore - Ill call L+I tomorrow.

dan's picture

Jabara Fractus wrote:the

Jabara Fractus wrote:

the trash-filled wasteland is nothing but pretty

:)

jmminarik's picture

Jabara Fractus wrote:Now,

Jabara Fractus wrote:

Now, how to convince the developer that there's money to be made in building community centers ;)

Get an old school nun to guilt him into it by pointing out it's time off in purgatory and money's not important?

codergrrl's picture

I thought it was a sanctuary

I thought it was a sanctuary for possum and racoons.

Lisa33's picture

Skymama1 wrote:Jeffro - I

Skymama1 wrote:

Jeffro - I agree that it is nice to see some skaters using it - I just worry that they'll slice themselves on the mounds of broken glass!! I also live right there and just think it is an eyesore - Ill call L+I tomorrow.

Where do the mounds of broken glass come from? We get them, too, on the other side of Front St along Howard. It's infuriating to me every time I try to imagine the process whereby the broken glass was dumped there. Someone loaded it into a truck, drove along, found a brokedown warehouse or vacant lot, then said, "I will throw this glass here and make sure it breaks into a million pieces."

ARGH!

netable's picture

A Childhood friend use to

A Childhood friend use to Lease the Building there, "American Steaks" and when he went to renew his lease' the Owner made it SKYHIGH, because the Owners' intentions were to make a Million dollars off the Land for Condo's

My friend was devastated, he made a "Huge" business there' and Loved the neighborhood'

So the Owner screwed him for Greed;' and now look

The Owner demo's the building, and Wahla, Karma steps in and he has an Empty Lot that he still has to pay taxes on, and no rent coming in and no million dollar bites'

dan's picture

Bummer... I loved American

Bummer...

I loved American Steaks.
They made my favorite pizza in the neighborhood.

Plus they had a cool painting on the side of the building and it was a great landmark for giving people directions when they got off of I-95 Southbound.

netable's picture

dan wrote:Bummer... I loved

dan wrote:

Bummer...

I loved American Steaks.
They made my favorite pizza in the neighborhood.

Plus they had a cool painting on the side of the building and it was a great landmark for giving people directions when they got off of I-95 Southbound.

Well, his Family was the Last People to take over Fella's at Tulip and Berks but that didn't work out, but Michael Runs the Crazy lep on Richmond' and I hear the food is Great there' and they deliver, he may make Pizza, Im not sure =)

ken215's picture

the best thing is to try

the best thing is to try contact the owner, which has been done in the past, not to much success. To answer your question more directly, and have a better result - organize a group to keep it clean.

If you organize a group, I will help; I walk by there almost every day, and it is a mess. I think a letter to the 26th asking for help would not be out of order as well. Also, the Fishtown Neighbors Association tries to have a monthly event called FNA Works. This month we will be cleaning Norris street from Aramingo to Cedar. Not sure if you are a member of the FNA but please join us this Thursday, 02/19/2009 @ 7:00 pm @ the Rec center on Montgomery to discuss further.

Ken

Skymama1 wrote:

I know this has been previously discussed - But, what can be done about the empty lot at Berks + Girard. I know there were issues with designs to build a condo there - instead, it has become a dumping ground, next to a day care + three doors down from the police station. It disgusts me -Nothing says, 'Welcome to Fishtown' like a trash strewn empty lot! What can be done about getting this lot cleaned up?? Thanks!

__________________________

Ken