What’s happening with NewCourtland? We found out the latest at the August East Falls Forward meeting, when Max Kent and Bob Theil presented plans for phase 2 of the Henry Ave. project.
A few meeting highlights:
The Pavilion. NewCourtland has targeted the Pavilion, a one-story building that stands in front of the tower, as a commercial space for medical providers. There are two possible options for occupying this 8,000 square foot space – the first would be a “docs in a box” scenario, in which multiple medical providers would staff small satellite office spaces.
The other option would be a 25+ chair dialysis unit. According to Max, there is a significant shortage of dialysis providers in Philadelphia, which would provide a much-needed community service and ensure high demand. Max is still investigating both possibilities.
Bob also mentioned that there are plans in a later phase of development to add senior housing to the Pavilion by adding a 2nd story.
The Tower. Nothing says EPPI (or psych ward) like the old tower looming over the site (“like the Death Star” as one former EFCC President referred to it). We’ve mentioned before that NewCourtland would like to improve the façade of the building using a variety of treatments.
Seems like a slam dunk, right? “Not so fast,” said the Philadelphia Historical Commission, according to Max. Apparently this building has some architectural merit to somebody downtown. Huh?!
Max explained that the Commission considers the building to be a “one of a kind” type of architecture in our area. “There’s a reason for that,” said “Stich” Gardner of Bowman Street, getting the biggest laughs of the night. Max is discussing next steps with members of the Commission to determine the best way forward.
Renewable energy was also discussed during the Q&A that followed the presentation. Trish Metzner, the new owner of the “Little Red Café” space on Midvale (and reportedly planning to make it into an art gallery), asked about plans for solar power on the site. Max said NewCourtland would love to add renewable energy, but was currently exploring a range of options from solar to geothermal to determine what makes the most sense.
As of August 30, NewCourtland hadn’t yet received its refusal from the Philly Zoning Board to their application for the proposed changes, but they expect it soon. In the meantime, they hope to receive support from EFF and EFCC for a variance, which would nullify the refusal and allow NewCourtland’s next phase to move forward.
Check out the presentation slides below.
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