Zoning Board Trancripts for 3 Rector October 4, 2006

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	LOCATION: 1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor
7	Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

9			---
10	PROPERTY: 3 Rector Street		
	Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
21	--
22	Registered Professional Reporters
23	1420 Walnut Street	133-H Gaither Drive
	Suite 1212		Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054
24	Philadelphia, PA 19103	(856) 235-5108

1 MS. DEZZI: 3 Rector Street, 2 calendar number 06-0812. 3 MR. FELDMAN: Mr. Chairman and 4 members of the Board, good afternoon. My name is 5 Brett Feldman, 260 South Broad Street, 6 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19102. I represent the 7 applicant, the Rector Street Associates. Their 8 principals are here today, Mr. David Waxman, to my 10 right, and Mr. Ron Barzilay, back here, also to my right. We're joined by Mr. Jonathan Broh, project 11 architect from JK Roller Architects, Bob Swarbrick, 12 who is one of the representatives of the Manayunk 13 Development Corporation that is in support of this 14 application. 15 I also have Mr. John Gallery, 16 executive director of the Preservation Alliance, 17 who is in support of this application and has been 18 very instrumental here. I know Ms. Chapman from 19 former Councilman Nutter's office is here. I 20 believe she has a letter of support and will also 21 be providing some testimony today. 22 I passed up to the Zoning Board 23 Exhibits 1 through 17, which I would ask be 24 incorporated into the record here with particular
Page 3 1 attention to the support letter from then 2 Councilman Nutter's office, letters of support from 3 Manayunk Development Corporation, Preservation 4 Alliance, as well as the Historic Commission 5 approval. 7 This property, 3 Rector Street, which is before you right here in these pictures 8 here and then here is a rendering of our proposal 9 is in the Manayunk -- it's a quasi-historical 10 district in Manayunk. The preservation 11 restrictions aren't in the traditional Historical 12 Preservation Code. They're actually in the 13 Property Maintenance Code. It's kind of a quirk, 14 which has caused us a lot of concertation, but we 15 had to go to the Historical Commission. 16 We ultimately received from the 17 Historical Commission what you see in front of you 18 today, unanimous approval, every single Historical 19 Commission member voted to support this 20 application. This is a project that's been going 21 on for 18 months with the Historical Commission and 22 the preservation community. 23 The project is -- to orient the 24 Board -- it's a little bit off the beaten trail, I
Page 4 1 guess, in Manayunk. This is Rector Street. Main 2 Street runs along here. This is Rector Street, 3 sloping down to the tow path and the Manayunk 4 canal. On the right side here is the Canal House 5 Apartments, which is a very attractive, I believe, 6 adaptive reuse for residential. That's right 7 there. And then there's a mix of commercial - 8 there's a mix of commercial -- a mix of commercial 9 and retail along Main Street here. 10, The building, itself, has, 11 obviously, four different sides. This is what is 12 there right now on Rector Street, that's the front 13 of the building, and then a series of pictures here 14 to show what is there right now. This is on a 15 private drive that runs -- if you come down Rector 16 Street, you make a left, and private drive that 17 runs to here. 18 The property has a unique history 19 in Manayunk. It was used for many years as a mill, 20 harnessing the water that ran along the canal and 21 tow path. From about 1940 to about late 1990s the 22 property was used by Mr. Ray Labov and his family 23 for the sale of plumbing supplies, heating 24 supplies, and the family ran it up into the 1990s
Page 5 1 when the reality, kind of the Home Depot/Lowe's 2 phenomena, where it's tough to compete against 3 folks that have massive buildings made it 4 impossible for them to continue. 5 They actually sold the business 6 to someone else, who tried to continue selling 7 plumbing and heating supplies there. That person 8 couldn't make a go of it, and it has sat now empty 9 since about 2000, 2001, despite listing agreements, 10 despite -- actually, if you take a look at even our 11 rendering, this is a sign that says: Building 12 available that still remains there to this date. 13 They have tried listing. They tried to sell this. 14 They have been unable to sell it throughout this 15 time. 16 The property, as I can tell you, 17 here's a side that runs along this private drive 18 here. You can see the wholesale and plumbing 19 pictures and drawings with toilets and things like 20 that. This is the rear. 21 The situation that we're in is 22 we're about -- 90 percent of the lot area is 23 covered by the building, so there's really no room 24 for us to expand out to the side, to the rear.
Page 6 1 This is not our property. The property line is 2 right here on the building line here, so we don't 3 have any space to expand backwards. Again, this is 4 the view looking from Main Street. 6 parking? MR. AUSPITZ: Do you have any 7 MR. FELDMAN: There's no parking 8 there. There's no parking. There's no loading 9 zone. There's no nothing. Currently, for our use, 10 we are proposing parking. 11 MR. SCHIRMER: How many spaces? 12 MR. FELDMAN: Twenty-one parking 13 spaces. 14 MR. SCHIRMER: How many units? 15 MR. FELDMAN: Twenty units. We 16 have more than one-for-one parking here. 17 What we're looking to do is - 18 the idea here is really to save this piece of 19 Manayunk history. We've heard from the community. 20 We're heard from the preservation community. 21 There's got to be a way to save this building but 22 still come up with a reuse that makes this viable, 23 and that's what we've done here. 24 What we have come up with is we
Page 7 1 are saving the front facade on Rector Street. 2 We're saving, which I think is probably the most 3 special side, this tow path side here along the 4 canal. We're saving the rear. And what we're 6 doing, and parts of the side, and what we're doing is having a five-story addition on top that 8 provides the 20 living units. We're also providing 21 parking 9 spaces that will be accessed along this private 10 drive here on the side. One of-the things that 11 we're able to do is come up with a way, instead of 12 cutting into the front for parking, we're able to 13 come in on the side. There's some areas that they 14 had used for entrances before that were not exactly 15 lined up specifically with those spots. We're 16 mimicking those areas to have the parking come up 17 on the side here. 18 Each one of these units, and you 19 can see on this rendering here, has its own view of 20 the canal, has windows onto the canal, has its own 21 balconies, the 20 units here. So what we're trying 22 to do is -- the goal of the Manayunk Development 23 Corporation and then Councilman Nutter is to really 24 provide eyes on this canal area, to really bring
Page 8 1 the vibrancy to this canal area, and that's what 2 we're doing by having these balconies; by having 3 the windows. 4 What we have also done here is we 5 have added a direct bicycle pedestrian access point 6 from the bottom of our building here at the 8 basement level straight onto the canal so folks can walk -- our residents can walk straight into the 9 building and straight out of the building to use 10 this canal, to ride. their bicycles. And that's 11 really one of the main attractions of this building 12 is that interaction between the tow path, the canal 13 and our residents. We think this is a sensitive 14 way to save this building. 15 As you can see by the pictures, 16 it's continued to, unfortunately, deteriorate as no 17 users have been found. It doesn't make sense for 18 warehousing because it doesn't have a loading area. 19 It's very small. For retail it doesn't work 20 because it's really kind of off the beaten trail. 21 It doesn't work, as far as there's no frontage on 22 Main Street, which is the prime manayunk retail 23 corridor. 24 And I think the old preservation
Page 9 1 community has come to the conclusion, and this 2 time, this took over 18 months, that this reuse 3 that we're showing today is the best way to save 4 this building so this building can continue to tell 5 the story of Manayunk's past, its connection to the 6 water, its mill history, 20 years from now, 50 7 years from now, 75 years from now, instead of it 8 continuing to be at danger, at risk for something 9 to happen to it. 10 That is our presentation, as far 11 as what we're showing here. We have got materials, 12 exemplars that we can show you. We have numerous 13 other plans that we had shown the Historical 14 Commission and Historical Commission staff and the 15 community. But what you see today is really our 16 best shot at a reuse of this building, and we're 17 very pleased with all the support that we have 18 received, support from immediate neighbors, support 19 from the Manayunk Development Corporation, the 20 Councilman, and the preservation community. 21 MR. AUSPITZ: Is anybody here in 22 opposition to this? 23 MR. SCHIRMER: Yes. My name is 24 Hal, H-A-L, last name Schirmer, S-C-H-I-R-M-E-R,
Page 10 1 1805 Ridge Road, Sellersville, 18960 here for 2 Manayunk Neighborhood Council. Manayunk 3 Neighborhood Council is the recognized civic 4 association in the area. The civic association has 5 never really met or reviewed the plans. These 6 properties are existing commercial. 7 MR. AUSPITZ: Were from you 8 Schwenksville? 9 MR. SCHIRMER: I've been up here 10 with SCRUB. 11 The concern that the neighbors 12 have, and that I'm here to represent, is under the 13 Zoning Code, this building could be reused for any 14 of a whole bunch of different permitted uses. This 15 building is currently in a situation where it can 16 be resurrected, can be refurbished. 17 The testimony to the Historical 18 Commission was from Mr. Labov that the building was 19 in grave shape. Actually, we have a Deed from Mr. 20 Labov, since there is no Agreement of Sale in the 21 record to explain who actually owned the property. 22 Finally, the indication is that the property had 23 been for sale at, I believe, a million dollars and 24 other records I have --
Page 11 1 MR. AUSPITZ: The Board never 2 asks numbers. 3 MR. SCHIRMER: The concern is 4 that, and actually, I should formally point out and 5 ask the Board to incorporate by reference the 6 records of the Historical Commission and the 7 records in the L & I files since the Historical 8 Commission was presented with financial hardship 9 information about well, how much did you want for 10 the property, were you offered -- how much-were you 11 offered for the property, and was that enough. 12 And we think that the sales show 13 that the property isn't valueless. The property 14 was valued somewhere 750,000, 800,000, a million 15 dollars. 16 MR. AUSPITZ: Let me put this on 17 the record because you're travelling on ice. 18 You're saying, in essence, that somebody offered it 19 at a low-enough price somebody else could buy it 20 and reuse it. We don't put numbers on because 21 we're the land use. Whether somebody makes a 22 billion dollars or losses a billion dollars is not 23 for this Board. 24 Counsel, you said you still have
Page 12 1 a sign hanging on this? 2 MR. FELDMAN: There is a sign 3 that is still hanging here today as we speak. This 4 property has now sat for over five years, at least 5 five years. My clients actually had this under 6 agreement now for about 18 months. It's been 7 extended in the agreement. 8 MR. STATEN: How many community 9 meetings have there been? 10 MR. FELDMAN: We have had -- with 11 Manayunk Neighborhood Council, we have had four 12 meetings. We have had four meetings. 13 MR. STATEN: Were you at any of 14 the meetings, counsel, actually you, counselor? 15 MR. SCHIRMER: No. I have not 16 represented the Manayunk Neighborhood Council at 17 the meetings. There was a continuance to meet 18 with - 19 MR. STATEN: When did you get to 20 represent Manayunk Council? 21 MR. SCHIRMER: Approximately one 22 month ago. 23 MS. DEZZI: How long have these 24 meetings been taking place?
Page 13 1 MR. SCHIRMER: There have been no 2 official meetings. Actually, there was a 3 continuance to meet with the neighbors. However, 4 it appears the developer didn't want to meet to 5 discuss zoning issues. They only wanted to discuss 6 what kind of brick should be on the exterior. So 7 the actual meeting schedule - 8 MR. AUSPITZ: What kind of zoning 9 issues were they supposed to discuss, as compared 10 to getting the input from the residents about the 11 brick? 12 MR. STATEN: And Historical 13 Commission. 14 MR. FELDMAN: Mr. Chairman, if I 15 may, I just want to -- this has been going on for 16 18 months. I have got a time line, and I don't 17 know if the Board wants to hear the whole time line 18 here. But because we had to go to the Historical 19 Commission get that approval before we came to the 20 Zoning Board, we front loaded this whole process 21 where we met repeatedly, three different occasions, 22 with Manayunk Neighborhood Council. 23 We were told -- initially we had 24 a plan to demolish this building, just to give you
Page 14 1 the full flavor of this. Initially, we had a plan 2 to demolish this building. We sat down with the 3 neighbors, and Mr. Smith, who is over here, at one 4 of the hearings -- there was various appeals -- at 5 one of the hearings proposed to us: Why don't you 6 look at an overbuild. Why don't you look at saving 7 the facade, saving all this great historical fabric 8 here and do something like that. 9 And I don't know if he thought we 10 would take that seriously or not, but. we did. We 11 went out and we got a new architecture team. We 12 got a new architecture firm. This is the second 13 architecture firm. And we came up with this plan 14 that you see in front of us today. We then met 15 with them twice more to review an overbuild 16 concept. We got the response from them, 17 essentially, that we have tacit support and we're 18 going to need some detail. 19 We then went to the Historic 20 Commission, first the Architectural Committee. We 21 found out the day before that committee hearing, in 22 a one-line E-mail, we have decided to oppose the 23 application. It came to the Architectural 24 Committee and opposed the application.
Page 15 1 We then went to the Historical 2 Commission, and the Historical Commission -- Mr. 3 Smith got up at the Historical Commission, 4 testified that this is probably the best we can 5 do. There's some details, work with us. We got 6 unanimous approval from the Historical Commission. 7 We then scheduled a meeting to 8 sit down with Mr. Smith and his group, I guess that 9 would be the fourth or fifth time at that point. 10 The day before we got the appeal filed when they 11 then appealed the Historical Commission. 12 We have reached out to them over 13 and over. And the reality here is, I think at the 14 end of the day, they think that this can be turned 15 into a farmer's market, this can be turned into 16 something here, despite the fact that a farmer's 17 market failed on Main Street already; that this can 18 just -- something can happen with this existing 19 building, and there's no changes should be made to 20 this building. That's what we have essentially 21 been told. 22 We had said we would enjoy the 23 opportunity to sit down, talk about materials, 24 items like that that we could then work with the
Page 15 1 Historical Commission and the back and forth, no. 2 I don't know what to say. I know the developers 3 have told me I'm crazy to continue to reach out, 4 but we did. 5 MR. AUSPITZ: We know Mr. Smith. 6 Quite frankly, he's well recognized by this Board. 7 Why don't you tell us what is 8 happening? 9 MR. SMITH: Sure. My name is 10 Kevin Smith, 293 Hermitage Street, Philadelphia, 11 19127, President of Manayunk Neighborhood Council. 12 Contrary to their claims, the 13 developers have not met in good faith with the 14 community. They did appear at our April, 2005 15 general meeting with a plan to demolish the 16 building. At that meeting, there was uniform 17 opposition to the plan, and a vote was taken to 18 oppose the development. The developers then went 19 on to the Historical Commission to seek the 20 demolition, were denied. 21 In December of 2005 they met 22 again with us, a portion -- or they met with our 23 Board, and at that meeting they showed us this 24 sketch. This was the only thing they showed us.
Page 17 1 They wouldn't let us keep a copy. They wouldn't 2 let us take picture of it. They wouldn't let us 3 photocopy it, and said: Will you support our 4 project. We said: That's insufficient 5 information. 6 MR. AUSPITZ: Counsel, were you 7 there for this? 8 MR. FELDMAN: I was not at that 9 meeting_ 10 MR. AUSPITZ: So you, did this by 11 yourselves? 12 MR. BARZILAY: Yes. 13 MR. STATEN: Was there any 14 conversation between you and counsel about changing 15 the front of the building, as opposed to demolition 16 on the building? 17 MR. SMITH: When they -- at their 18 appeal hearing, they appealed to the Historical - 19 the Historical Commission denied the demolition. 20 They appealed that denial to the Board of Building 21 Standards. At the Board of Building Standards I 22 did suggest that they could consider, rather than 23 demolishing the building, modifying it. We 24 suggested some form of expansion or overbuild might
Page 18 1 be preferable to demolition. But I have to say, in 2 no way is that preapproval or an obligation to 4 approve whatever -MR. STATEN: They're talking to 5 the president of the association. 6 MR. SMITH: What's that? 7 MR. STATEN: They're talking to 8 the president of the association. If you make a 9 suggestion that you're putting out - 10 MR. SMITH: And in fact, we have 11 never rejected overbuild or modification of the 12 building on some sort of principle that the 13 building cannot be touched. 14 MR. AUSPITZ: So why are you here 15 today? 16 In other words, what would you 17 like to see, or what don't you like? Tell us. 18 MR. SMITH: We're here today 19 because, one, we think reuse of this historic mill 20 building, it was the offices for the Campbell 21 Manufacturing Company built in the mid 1870s, is 22 the only remaining part of that mill. We think it 23 has an extremely viable reuse just the way it is. 24 We have identified 61 other
1 Page 19 businesses in the neighborhood that would work in 2 that building, from businesses right off of Main 3 Street to within a few blocks of Main Street 4 rehabbing old buildings. 5 MR. AUSPITZ: They're saying this 6 has been available for five years. 7 Where are the other people? 8 MR. SMITH: We understand there 9 have been some offers -- they have claimed that 10 they received no credible offers on the property 11 but have never offered up what offers they got. 12 MR. FELDMAN: Because we didn't 13 get any. 14 MR. SMITH: I know from a 15 conversation with David Richards of Richards Apex 16 that he made an offer on the property. And Raymond 17 Labov - 18 MR. AUSPITZ: What business is he 19 in? 20 MR. SMITH: Richards Apex, it's 21 an industrial company immediately behind this, this 22 building. 23 MR. FELDMAN: Is Mr. Richards 24 here?
Page 20 1 MR. SMITH: I don't see him here. 2 MR. AUSPITZ: It's hearsay. 3 MR. FELDMAN: Absolutely. 4 MR. STATEN: I'm a little 5 confused, because when you found out they were 6 going to demo the building, you made a statement 7 that we would rather see the building stay, and if 9 you have to do some overbuild, then that would be considered. But now you come back and say: Now 10 you're not going to demo, you turn around and say: 11 Now I want you to use the building as is. 12 MR. SMITH: Absolutely not. What 13 we're saying is the best reuse for this building is 14 as is. And that's -- that's our position - 15 MR. STATEN: You made the 16 statement about the overbuild, and if you had the 17 overbuild. You made that statement. 18 MR. SMITH: Yes. 19 MR. FELDMAN: at the Mr. Smith, 20 Historical Commission, did you not get up and say, 21 and it's in the notes, that looking at this plan, 22 that this is about the best you can do, and that 23 with some changes, you believe this is something 24 you can support?
Page 21 1 MR. SMITH: No. That's not what 2 I said. What I said - 3 MR. FELDMAN: I would direct the 4 Board to Exhibit-15, which is the notes of the 5 Historical Commission. 6 MR. AUSPITZ: How high is the 7 building behind this, the red brick building behind 8 this? 9 MR. SMITH: That's Venturi Scott. 10 MR. AUSPITZ: That's the 11 gentleman you said made the offer? 12 MR. SMITH: No. That building is 13 not visible in that picture. We do have pictures 14 that would show it. 15 MR. FELDMAN: Mr. Chairman, it's 16 absolutely in scale with what is in front of it 17 here on Rector Street, and we have actually tried 18 to mimic the materials as much as possible here. 19 MR. SMITH: We can hand up an 20 aerial photo that shows the surrounding buildings. 21 MS. EDEN: Mr. Feldman, I'm 22 looking at 15, and I'm not -- this is what I'm 23 finding. Kevin Smith of the Manayunk Neighborhood 24 Council stated that it would be premature to accept
Page 22 1 this design, a better design should be demanded. 2 The Council contends that reuse is the best use of 3 the building. He rejected the proposal, which 4 would require major changes to a historical 5 building and asked for a more stringent application 6 of the rules. 7 MR. FELDMAN: That was submitted 8 at a prior hearing when they conceptually approved 9 it. If you look, Ms. Eden - 10 MS. EDEN: You said go to. 11 Exhibit-15. This is what I found. 12 MR. FELDMAN: There's two sets of 13 minutes right here. 14 MS. EDEN: Right here where? 15 MR. FELDMAN: Fourth page, 19, it 16 says at the bottom: The Historical Commission 17 first conceptually approved this application. And 18 then we came back with additional details, what you 19 see today, and then they approved it. So we made 20 modifications from the conceptual to what you see 21 today. And then that's when Mr. Smith made the 22 comments that he made that are reflected in the 23 minutes. 24 And Mr. Gallery is here, who
Page 23 1 needs to leave very shortly for a meeting. He's 2 been integral to this whole process and I would ask 3 Mr. Gallery - 4 MS. DEZZI: Mr. Gallery, were you 5 at the Historic Commission? 6 MR. GALLERY: I attended every 7 meeting of the Architectural Committee of the 8 Historical Commission that was held on this project 9 over the entire 18 months. John Gallery, Executive 10 Director of the Preservation Alliance. 11 Mr. Feldman has already indicated 12 that this has gone on for 18 months, and it started 13 off with the demolition of the building. I think 14 you all know that from the point of view of the 15 Preservation Alliance, we try very hard to make 16 sure the buildings are preserved. And this is an 17 interesting building. Though it looks like a very 18 modest building, it's indicative of the industrial 19 heritage of Manayunk. And we were very strongly 20 opposed, as was the community, as Mr. Smith has 21 testified to its demolition. 22 I always like to see buildings 23 reused. And some of you know my own professional 24 background, in addition to being a preservationist,
Page 24 1 an economic developer, I look very carefully 2 anytime a developer says: It's not economically 3 feasible to preserve a historic building. I'm very 4 suspicious of those statements. 5 In this case, I really feel that 6 the information that was presented early on to the 7 Historical Commission was quite clear that it 8 actually met the standards that are in the 9 Ordinance; that is, you have to demonstrate that 10 you've tried to sell it. You have to demonstrate 11 that you tried to lease it. You just can't say: 12 It's impossible. 13 And I was strongly convinced that 14 this building did not have the opportunity to be 15 preserved in its current form, and that's why we 16 were very interested when the developer decided to 17 take this approach. The developers will tell you I 18 have looked at this project with them many times. 19 I have told them what I have disliked about 20 previous designs, so has the Historical Commission. 21 These people have bent over backwards to try to 22 design the best project they could design that 23 keeps as much of this historic integrity as 24 possible.
Page 25 1 I would also like to point out 2 this is on the canal. It's on the tow path. It 3 will bring residential development into the area. 4 It will really make contribution to making this 5 part of Manayunk a really important public 6 recreation area. I think a residential use here is 7 vastly superior to any industrial expansion of the 8 adjacent manufacturer or something of that use. It 9 just has an opportunity to really make a strong 10 contribution to the neighborhood, and I would 11 really strongly endorse the applications that have 12 been made for the variances. I think is an 13 important project to go ahead. 14 I I have a meeting apologize. 15 with the Mayor or, otherwise, I would stay for the 16 whole discussion. 17 MR. AUSPITZ: We appreciate your 18 coming up, as always. 19 MR. FELDMAN: Thank you, Mr. 20 Gallery. 21 MR. STATEN: Counselor, do we 22 have a copy of this? We need him to look at the 23 statement on page 19. 24 MR. FELDMAN: Yes.
Page 26 1 MR. STATEN: Mr. Smith, can you 2 read that statement? 3 Did you make that statement? 4 MR. SMITH: Yes. What I would 5 like to say, and as part of my testimony, is that 6 rendering that they have here and that you see 7 there was introduced at the Historical Commission 8 and was the first view of any type of the building 9 that I had ever seen. We had never been given that 10 in advance. 11 MR. STATEN: Did you pass up 12 something saying he gave you something saying this 13 is what it was going to be? 14 MR. FELDMAN: No. Member Staten, 15 that was actually the demolition plan that was back 16 in 2000 - 17 MR. STATEN: All I'm trying to 18 clarify is that it's two different views you got? 19 MR. SMITH: That is not the 20 demolition plan. 21 MR. STATEN: You said somebody 22 gave you this and said: This is what the building 23 is going to look like? 24 MR. SMITH: David Waxman and Ron
Page 27 1 Barzilay showed us that picture at a meeting and 2 would not let us keep it. That picture I got from 4 the Historical Commission records. MR. SCHIRMER: Have you seen this 5 one? 6 MR. SMITH: I saw that picture at 7 the Historical Commission hearing that we're 8 debating now. 9 MR. FELDMAN: And you saw it at 10 the Board of Building Standards when they filed the 11 appeal, which then unanimously denied the appeal by 12 the Board of Building Standards and it was thrown 13 out that day. And that's why the discussion -- why 14 we reached out. We said at the Historical 15 Commission: You said this looked good. He said: 16 Maybe a little changes here and there. 17 That's the discussion, why we 18 opened it up again, for discussion about some of 19 the materials, some things here and there. But if 20 they're talking about wholesale changes, what 21 really happens is we have got to go all the way 22 back to step one. We have got to go back to the 23 Historical Commission and start again, and that's 24 what I suspect is really driving this, is that --
Page 28 1 MR. AUSPITZ: What kind of 2 changes are you talking about? 3 MR. STATEN: What I'm hearing in 4 his statement, it says that he's accepting it in 5 concept only. It means not necessarily anymore 6 changes, but whatever the final plan is, for them 7 to look at it again, not - 8 MR. SMITH: What our position is 9 and what my position is, we had almost no 10 information to work on. 11 MR. AUSPITZ: Can I just say 12 something? You should have contacted them, or 13 something else, too. And you are also totally 14 remiss by saying you can't keep something. This 15 isn't a little baseball game, sandlot baseball. 16 You should respect the community group if you want 17 community groups to respect you back. 18 I know exactly where Mr. Smith is 19 coming from. But on the other hand, I think we're 20 at a point where we're all realizing that this kind 21 of thing is a use for this. You're not going to 22 get them to leave it just as it is, or somebody 23 would have bought this thing a long time ago. 24 During the height of the economic real estate boom,
Page 29 1 nobody touched this piece, you follow me, except 2 for this group. 3 MR. FELDMAN: Retail, commercial, 4 nothing. 5 MR. SMITH: I understand the 6 Board doesn't want to hear numbers, but if you list 7 a property at twice its value and no one buys it, 8 it's not a hardship. And I don't -, 9 MR. AUSPITZ: But on the other 10, hand, everybody has a right to value their own 11 property. If they can't sell it and they have to 12 sell it, then they will reevaluate until they can 13 sell it. So that's why it's a marketplace. If 14 somebody has the luxury of saying: I get this 15 price. And there's a sign hanging on Front Street, 16 right off of South, two point one million, no 17 contingencies and no offers. The sign is getting a 18 little rusty. I bet if you walked in there and 19 said something, the guy would say: Well, let's sit 20 down and talk about that now because he's had that 21 sign up there when everybody was just throwing 22 buckets of money into real estate. That's not 23 going on now, especially with the banks, and so, 24 it's different.
Page 30 1 What we're trying to do is to 2 find a way -- the most important part of this whole 3 thing is the canal. Whether they sell 21 units or 4 not, that's the least of our worries. Our worry is 5 to try to keep that feel when you're on the canal. 6 I'm looking at this. If you're walking down here, 7 you're looking at the original mill building here. 8 I mean, granted, you can look up and see there's 9 going to be stuff up here. But we're still keeping 10 the flavor of jogging and everything else on the 11 canal. It's an attempt. If there's a way to 12 modify it or something else, I'm happy to listen to 13 it. So this isn't in stone, but it's pretty much 14 so because it's gone through every board in the 15 City. 16 MR. SMITH: I want to address a 17 couple of other points. The developer has also 18 mentioned that they offered to meet with us to 19 discuss cosmetic things to the building. I will 20 only point out they made the offer yesterday 21 afternoon and offered to meet with us for 45 22 minutes last night. 23 REVEREND HALL: What cosmetic 24 changes are you referring to?
Page 31 1 MR. STATEN: What cosmetic 2 changes would there be? 3 What would you want? 4 MR. SMITH: Well, I think at this 5 point we're not sure that this building can be 6 cosmetically fixed by just changing the color of 7 the facade. But that was the offer they made to us 8 regarding community input into this building. 9 The first Historical Commission 10 where they received in-concept approval was for a 11 four story red brick mill-style building, and they 12 came back with a five-story design of a whole 13 different sort. And I notice they have also said 14 that this was 20 units. I know on the application 15 it was 22 units. I don't know if they changed 16 their design. 17 MR. FELDMAN: We did. 18 MR. STATEN: The question I would 19 have: When you made that statement, what concept 20 did they have, the five story or the four story? 21 MR. SMITH: The first statement 22 that - 23 MR. STATEN: No. You. I'm 24 talking about you.
Page 32 1 MR. SMITH: This one was this 3 building. MR. STATEN: The one that you 4 said approved in concept only, that was the five 5 story? 6 MS. EDEN: Mr. Feldman, I am 7 curious. 8 I mean, why did your client get 9 conceptual approval for a four story sort of 10 traditional red brick building then decide to 11 pursue a five story modern building? 12 MR. FELDMAN: The conceptual 13 approval from the Historical Commission' was not for 14 a specific design. It was an envelope. It was an 15 envelope, four stories. One of the commissioners, 16 Commissioner wilds - 17 MS. EDEN: Excuse me. I read the 18 minutes. It says: The current proposal differs 19 significantly from the proposal that the Commission 20 approved in concept. The addition is now five, not 21 four stories tall. It is no longer styled like an 22 industrial building. The exterior materials have 23 changed significantly from those shown in the photo 24 simulations submitted with the in-concept
Page 33 1 proposal. The parking design has been 2 significantly altered with a lot of details about 3 how parking is now in the historic building, rather 4 than in the basement. 5 Why did your client, after 6 getting the preliminary approval for the four story 7 traditional design with sub-level parking, switch 8 to five stories, modern design, different materials 9 and different parking arrangements? 10 MR. WAXMAN: If I may, David 11 Waxman. 12 In terms of the in-concept 13 approval, the plan is right here that you see that 14 we went with, and it purely showed a volume. It 15 did not show material and the in-concept approval 16 was not - 17 MS. EDEN: Well, I just read you 18 the notes of the Historical Commission, so I don't 19 know why you want to argue with me. You want to, 20 like, hold Mr. Smith to them verbatim, we'll hold 21 you to them verbatim. 22 Okay? 23 MR. WAXMAN: Sure., And I can 24 give a good, valid reason.
Page 34 1 MS. EDEN: I'm asking why you 2 made the change; why you added the floor; why you 3 changed the parking arrangements; and why you 4 changed the style and the materials of the 5 building? 6 MR. WAXMAN: Issue number one on 7 the parking, when we were there, Commissioner 8 Rivera asked us why, in this plan here -- as you 9 can see, there's a garage entrance on Rector 10 Street. We studied, looking at a way to move the 11 parking penetration off of the old facade, studied 12 using a car lift or some other means so it's taken 13 off of there. 14 At the same time, Commissioner 15 Wilds, recognizing that that would be a burden on 16 us from a marketing standpoint due to car 17 elevators, as opposed to a ramp, proposed the 18 building could be four or fiveish (sic), and he did 19 use the word fiveish, stories if we needed it to be 20 that way. We studied it and came up with a 21 proposal where there's two means of ingress and 22 egress for the parking. 23 This entrance, as you see here, 24 is a car lift by ThyssenKrupp, a major elevator
Page 35 1 company. It's a 60 second cycle to drive in and 3 take 15 cars down to the basement. We then have an existing cut and entrance further down the private 4 street where we park the six additional cars. 5 The car elevator and the 6 marketing associated with it from the fact that 7 it's not proven in the City, we needed it to be 8 revenue neutral to make that change. Commissioner 9 wilds recognized that and gave us the flexibility 10 for the fifth story. 11 MS. EDEN: And then the style and 12 materials changed? 13 MR. WAXMAN: We were challenged 14 there that -- you know, in the preservation 15 community, I'm sure you have heard this before, 16 there's Mickey Mouse architecture where you 17 replicate what was there, and then there is -- the 18 layman needs to look at the old building and easily 19 recognize what is different. 20 We were challenged, at the 21 in-concept approval, to really go for something, 22 and we were told it should be modern and we don't 23 want it to just look like a brick box put on top. 24 And that's what brought us to this sort of more
Page 36 1 modern design. And the materials we tried to blend 2 the colors in with the brick that surrounds it. 3 MR. FELDMAN: What I would tell 4 you is that the Historical Commission did review 5 exactly what you see in front of you here today and 6 unanimously voted to support this application here 7 today, unanimously. And as you see, Mr. Gallery - 8 MS. EDEN: This is the one that's 9 already been the subject of a Building Standards 10 appeal, which is finished? 11 MR. FELDMAN: No. 12 MS. EDEN: It's pending? 13 MR. FELDMAN: No. We went to the 14 Board of Building Standards. They voted 3-0. They 15 denied Mr. Smith's appeal at the hearing, itself. 16 Mr. Smith has already now filed an appeal to the 17 Court of Common Pleas of that decision. 18 MS. EDEN: So it's done in front 19 of Building Standards - 20 MR. FELDMAN: Yes. 21 MS. EDEN: -- but it's still 22 pending in court? 23 MR. FELDMAN: Yes. So, I mean, 24 that's some of the flavor of what is going on here,
Page 37 1 the back and forth that's happened. But what you 2 see here was approved unanimously by the Historical 3 Commission. 4 MR. AUSPITZ: Mr. Smith, do you 5 want to put something else? 6 MR. SMITH: I have a couple more 7 points. 8 Just regarding any kind of 9 hardship, in June of 2005, the developer's 10 architect had testified that the building was 11 sound, secure and maintained at the Historical 12 Commission hearing. In February of 2006, Mr. 13 Feldman laments the deteriorating conditions of the 14 building. 15 So we have to ask: Are they 16 maintaining the building, and is it deteriorating 17 or not? 18 MS. EDEN: Mr. Smith, you have to 19 understand, though, that the criteria by which we 20 make decisions in front of the Zoning Board is very 21 different than the criteria that the Historical 22 Commission uses. So a lot of this history about 23 the marketing of the building or the maintenance of 24 the building is not really germane directly to the
Page 38 1 issues that we have in front of us today, which are 2 about the use of the building for residential and 3 some issues that relate to the layout of it on the 5 lot. MR. SMITH: As I mentioned 6 before, we identified, and there's photographs of 7 the buildings and addresses and types of 8 businesses, of 61 business that could go into this 9 building without - 10 MR. FELDMAN: Did you ask them if 11 they could go in there? 12 What is that based on? 13 MR. SMITH: It's an obvious 14 demonstration that a building of that size and 15 style can be used within the neighborhood, and the 16 neighborhood has 61 or more uses compatible with 17 that building. It's a simple argument. 18 MR. FELDMAN: Across the street 19 there was a national retail credit tenant, Smith 20 and Hawkin, that pulled out of that location 21 because of lack of visibility on Main Street and 22 went to another location. 23 MR. SMITH: I have a comment 24 related to that and it was a part of our testimony
Page 39 1 to the Historical Commission. Smith and Hawkin 2 opened up three other stores within ten miles of 3 this store and - 4 MS. EDEN: You have to remember 5 that the building is zoned G-2. I'm not even sure 6 that Smith and Hawkin could have opened up at this 7 location without a zoning variance. These kind of 8 uses are only relevant if they would have been as 9 of right within the present zoning G-2 category. 10 MR. SMITH: Many of the uses in 11 our 61 listed would go in there as of right; not 12 all of them would. It goes from glass blowing, 13 furniture manufacturing_ 14 MR. AUSPITZ: We just approved a 15 glass blower yesterday with an apartment above for 16 the artist, himself. But that doesn't mean that we 17 have hundreds of people practicing that particular 18 art looking for a building. I can probably give 19 you a hundred uses. The problem is, for example, 20 there's no parking, for all intents and purposes, 21 if you keep the building without breaking into it. 22 So a lot of businesses would be affected by that. 23 If you told somebody: We want you to open a 24 business in Manayunk, and you can't even park your
Page 40 1 own car, it's difficult, at best. This isn't a 2 debate. I want you to know the flavor of what 4 we're thinking about. Counsel, is there anybody else? 5 MR. FELDMAN: If I may ask Mr 6 Smith a couple of questions. 8 Mr. Smith, did you provide the Zoning Board your address? 9 MR. SMITH: Yes. 293 Hermitage 10 Street, Philadelphia, 19127. 11 MR. FELDMAN: I did driving 12 directions from Rector Street to get to your 13 property. What I found is it's 1.1 miles. 14 Do you believe that that's 15 correct? 16 MR. SMITH: I will take your word 17 for it. 18 MS. EDEN: He is the president of 19 the civic, so - 20 MR. FELDMAN: I understand. 21 MR. SMITH: I mean, it's as 22 relevant as asking Mr. Feldman where he lives. 23 MR. FELDMAN: Do you own any 24 property on that block, on the block of Rector
Page 41 1 Street? 2 MR. SMITH: No. 3 MR. FELDMAN: Thank you. 4 MR. SMITH: I have one last 5 comment. I know Councilman Nutter has supported 6 this project, and I only want to point out that his 7 support has been, from our perspective, unrelated 8 to the scope of the project and unconditional. He 9 supported the demolition. He supported four 10 stories. He supported five stories. At one point 11 they identified the developer as Switzenbaum and 12 Associates. And to the best of our knowledge, he's 13 not the developer. 14 They have represented the 15 building as deteriorating, when it's not. And they 16 have gone so far - 17 MR. STATEN: When you say it's 18 not, how do you come to that conclusion? 19 MR_ SMITH: The testimony of the 20 developer's architect at the June Historical 21 Commission meeting. 22 MR. FELDMAN: It's interesting 23 that there are pictures on the Manayunk 24 Neighborhood Council of the interior of this
Page 42 1 building that we don't know how they got. 2 MR. SMITH: I can explain it. 3 There's a hole in the door and I stuck a camera in. 4 MR. FELDMAN: They're pretty deep 5 into the building. They took a hundred pictures of 6 the interior of this building that somehow, Mr. 7 Smith must have went - 8 MR. AUSPITZ: We're not going to 9 go there because Mr. Smith should have been invited 10. in to see the building and we wouldn't be here 11 today. I'm coming from the other side. Putting up 12 these barriers is nice cocktail talk, but it 13 doesn't accomplish anything. It's important for 14 people to sit and knock these things down and 15 figure out what to do with them, rather than 16 dismiss anything. 17 The only reason I'm rushing you a 18 little bit because - 19 MR. SMITH: My final comment is 20 Councilman Nutter has gone so far as to say that 21 retail and reuse of this building would be 22 undesirable, and we find that absurd. 23 MR. AUSPITZ: It is what it is 24 right now.
Page 43 1 MR. FELDMAN: Can Councilman 2 Nutter's - 3 MR. AUSPITZ: We want to hear 4 from the opposition. 5 MR. SCHIRMER: I think Mr. 6 Feldman goes first, normally. 7 MR. STATEN: We asked you. 8 MR. AUSPITZ: This is like Judge 9 Judy. We'll tell you exactly. Don't worry about 10 what you learn. We want to hear why people are so 11 upset so we can deal with that and see what we're 12 talking about. 13 MR. SCHIRMER: We have to bring 14 Kevin back up. These are the copies -- what you 15 have in front of you are the exhibits for Manayunk 16 Neighborhood Council, including copies of the 17 paperwork -- we actually have a file copy for the 18 Zoning Board, which has the pictures in large 19 format. And I believe Kevin has already given much 20 of the testimony that was focused on the binders; 21 however, we do have the specific photographs 22 showing, one, aerials. 23 MR. AUSPITZ: We have the aerial 24 on the screen.
Page 44 1 MR. SCHIRMER: There was some 2 questions about Richards Apex. The property is 3 currently zoned G-2 industrial. The property is 5 currently owned by Raymond Labov. We have a copy 6 of the Deed from Mr. Labov. Unfortunately, Mr. Labov isn't 7 here -- he is? Now, the property is currently 8 G-2 industrial. zoned 9 MR. STATEN: You said that. 10 MR. SCHIRMER: The property which 11 is adjacent to it, which we discussed, is Richards 12 Apex factory is the large property, not the red 13 brick building, but behind Richards Apex -- behind 14 the property is Richards Apex, which is a currently 15 running industrial manufacturer. This is a 16 Philadelphia Inquirer article. 17 MR. AUSPITZ: As a manufacturer, 18 I just put this on the table in case the Judge 19 reads this, there's functional obsolescence, and we 20 don't even have to go through this. If you're 21 trying to tell me this is a good building for a 22 current manufacturing operation, which I do, 23 there's no loading zone, there's no parking, 24 there's no nothing, other than a great view. And
Page 45 1 the last thing you want to do is have people 2 looking at the view when you're supposed to be 3 making whatever you're making. 4 Don't go there. And if you're 5 going to claim this can still be used for 6 industrial, it really can't. We're talking about 7 retail or office, that's a possibility, but there's 8 just no way. 9 MR. SCHIRMER: I believe the 10 Historical Commission minutes do reflect there was 11 an offer, and Mr. Smith has had conversations - 12 MR. STATEN: Who said that? 13 MS. EDEN: Mr. Schirmer, the 14 problem is that's not really relevant to a zoning 15 hardship case. 16 MR. SCHIRMER: The property owner 17 next door is looking to expand. The property next 18 door is industrial and is currently used for 19 industrial. 20 MR. AUSPITZ: Is the gentleman 21 from next door here? 22 MR. FELDMAN: No. 23 MR. AUSPITZ: You sat and talked 24 to him personally, yourself, counsel?
Page 46 1 MR. SCHIRMER: I did not. 2 MR. AUSPITZ: Do me a favor. I'm 3 telling from you a deli, we're talking hearsay. So 4 I don't know what they do in Schwenksville, or 5 Sellersville, or whatever we're talking about, but 6 cut it out already. 7 We're asking, and for the last 8 time, because you've got people here that are 9 credible witnesses that we have known for years, we 10 want to know what they think is a problem, and then 11 we have to see if that's curable or not. And then 12 we may be able to come up with something that we 13 say: You know what, there is a problem. That's 14 why we wait to hear from the residents up there. 15 MR. SCHIRMER: Then we have - 16 MR. STATEN: I have a Mr. Smith, 17 question. 18 Were you the only one that went 19 to the historical meeting out of the association? 20 MR. SMITH: I'm the only one who 21 testified at the meeting. I believe Jane Glenn was 22 at the meeting. 23 MR. STATEN: Did you get any 24 renderings or pictures of the rendering that go
Page 47 1 back to the group to show them what you said that 2 you approved in concept? That's the statement you 3 made. 4 MR. FELDMAN: Our plans are on 5 their web site. 6 MR. SMITH: We never had any 7 pictures, or we never had any pictures of 8 renderings until the final Historical Commission 9 meeting wherein we got that. 10 MR. STATEN: Did you have a 11 meeting after you saw the pictures among the 12 association to talk about the rendering? 13 MR. SMITH: Yes. Yes. We have 14 had meetings. 15 MR. FELDMAN: I think the 16 Historical Commission approval was June or July o 17 this year. It's been a number of months. 18 MR. AUSPITZ: Counsel, anybody 19 else? 20 MR. SCHIRMER: I just wanted to 21 flip through, and have Kevin identify -- we 22 believe Kevin has already identified the pictures, 23 61 businesses. We don't need to flip through the 24 businesses.
Page 45 1 MR. AUSPITZ: One more time with 2 61 businesses. You're wasting our time, quite 3 frankly. I know you're enjoying this, but now 4 you're starting, really, to get to a point where 5 you shouldn't be. This is wrong. We want to hear 6 from credible people that we know from that 7 community in front of us to tell us what they're 8 thinking so we know what is going on. 9 MR. SCHIRMER: We call John 10 Hunter. 11 MR. HUNTER: John Hunter, 12 H-U-N-T-E-R, 4308 Terrace Street, Philadelphia, PA, 13 19128. Without trying your patience too much, I 14 just want to address some of the points that have 15 already been raised. 16 MR. AUSPITZ: Can I ask you not 17 to be redundant? In other words, if you're going 18 to say 61 businesses - 19 MR. HUNTER: I promise I won't 20 mention 61. 21 MR. AUSPITZ: Thank you. I have 22 to stress that time is of the essence, only because 23 we have a lot of people here and we're trying, for 24 the eighth time, to get to the kernel of the truth
Page 49 1 of what is happening so we can figure out what to 2 do. 3 Go ahead. 4 MR. HUNTER: I am on the Manayunk 5 neighborhood support. I'm a registered architect. 6 I work in the building adjacent to the Labov 7 property. I have worked there for 17 years. I 8 have lived in the area for 50 years, so I think I 9 have a relatively good knowledge of the area_ 10 Some of the things I just want to 11 point out is, first of all, one of Mr. Feldman's 12 points where he characterized the site as not very 13 close to Main Street, it's within less than 100 14 feet of Main Street. It's highly visible. This is 15 taken as if you were standing on Main Street. So I 16 think we'd like to rectify that. 17 The next thing is -- if I could 18 just address the 18 month period as an architect, 19 advising a client on a property in the historic 20 district, and it's on the National Historic 21 Register of buildings, to pursue demolition and 22 then to pursue appeal of the denial for that 23 demolition will automatically extend the design 24 period. To then change architects will also do
Page 50 1 that. That was not at the suggestion of the 2 neighborhood council. So that - 3 MR. FELDMAN: Change architects 4 or the overbuild concept? 5 MR. HUNTER: I'm sorry. I never 6 mentioned the overbuild concept. 7 MR. FELDMAN: No. You said that 8 it wasn't the idea of the Manayunk Neighborhood 9 Council for overbuild. 10 KS. EDEN: Mr. Feldman, why do 11 you want to pursue this? 12 Once the clients failed to 13 achieve the granting of a demolition permit, 14 they're either going to walk away from the project 15 or they're going to for an overbuild concept. This 16 is not rocket science. I mean, that's just the way 17 of the world. It isn't for the neighborhood. It's 18 for developer. That's the only choice they have at 19 that point. 20 MR. FELDMAN: They also had a 21 choice to move on to other projects, but it really 22 intrigued them, the idea. And the reason why they 23 went with another architectural firm is because 24 they -- someone else said: We can actually do some
Page 51 1 different things here to make this possible. 3 MR. STATEN: Anything else? MR. HUNTER: One more point about 4 the 18 month. 5 Could I also point out, as was 6 mentioned before, there have been three versions of 7 the scheme that was being shown. One was three 8 stories above the existing two stories. The next 9 one was three stories above the existing building. 10 MR. AUSPITZ: We're looking at . 11 your organization's web site. We're seeing what 12 they saw, and you have this. What you're seeing 13 here you have on the web site, too. 14 MR. HUNTER: Right. Also, the 15 last scheme, the later scheme, therefore, goes up 16 yet another story. 17 MR. FELDMAN: With all the 18 interior pictures. 19 MR. AUSPITZ: That doesn't make 20 it bad. 21 MR. STATEN: We're listening. 22 MR. HUNTER: The final scheme 23 also increases the footprint of the building. It 24 extends out to the north to the greatest extent of
Page 52 1 the side of the sidewalk. So the final scheme 2 which you're looking at is almost 30 feet higher 3 than the adjacent building, which is the highest 4 building in the area. So it goes up from three 5 stories to four stories to five stories. The 6 footprint increases. At each time the design 7 changed. As Ms. Eden has already pointed out, the 8 design changed from no reason from the neighborhood 9 council. So I just wanted to address those. 10 Could I also address the 11 parking? One of these -- just to show you some 12 more photographs, which are all included in the 13 books, across from Venus Island there is existing 14 parking. Across from this building is Bourbon Blue 15 Restaurant. When Bourbon Blue came before you to 16 have the zoning changed to a restaurant, it was 17 approved that the parking on Venus Island would be 18 an acceptable option for customers. So there is 19 parking very close by to this site. It's not on 20 the site. It's immediately adjacent. 21 MR. AUSPITZ: Is that that big 22 parcel that was behind what was Harry's? 23 MS. BRUMBELOW: This is Venus 24 Island over here. So they would have to cross the
Page 53 1 bridge here or the bridge here 2 MR. AUSPITZ: The project over 3 there with the two bridges? 4 The island hasn't been built on 5 yet? 6 MR. FELDMAN: No. To get to that 7 parking -- we actually are interested in possibly 8 utilizing that parking, too, just in case, you've 9 got to come down to Cotton Street and you've got to 10 go over a bridge here. That's to walk. And I 11 think to drive, you've got to come over here. 12 MR. HUNTER: Could you now look 13 at the last pieces in your information that's been 14 given to you, which shows the proposals for the 15 Water Department for a retention storage tank on 16 that site and the improved parking and potential of 17 the bridge across the canal at Rector Street? 18 MR. FELDMAN: We have Bob 19 Swarbrick here from Manayunk Development 20 Corporation. 21 MR. STATEN: We're on this side 22 right now. 23 MR. HUNTER: So there are plans, 24 and in addition to those plans, there is also your
Page 54 1 recreation center is proposing to put a performing 2 center on that Venus Island, which would be 3 accessed from the bridge. As has already been 4 brought up before, there are long-term plans to 5 increase the value of the canal and the tow path. 6 One of the objections that was 7 immediate when the developers first addressed the 8 neighborhood council was not only demolition, but 9 how much the building on the tow path would be 10 affected, because what inevitably was going to be 11 proposed to the existing building is-parking, dead 12 parking, no activity, nothing that would improve 13 the potential for using that canal in the future. 14 I just wanted to produce those. 15 Could I just address Mr. 16 Gallery's points? As I just mentioned, three of 17 the buildings adjacent to each other are on the 18 National Historic Register, the building that I 19 work in, Labov's building and Bourbon Blue. If you 20 look at this photograph, which is taken from Main 21 Street, you can see the two buildings. They were 22 original buildings, late 19th century. They're 23 almost a mirror image of each other. They were 24 both gate buildings to the bridge that went across
Page 55 1 the mill. 2 If you now look at these two 3 buildings, this building is Labov's. This building 4 is Bourbon Blue. This building is owned by Youron 5 Properties, who is not known as a stupid developer 6 who doesn't do good development. This is a 7 restaurant. It's active. It's used. It's not 8 been changed. It's been pretty well preserved, and 9 it's been restored. It was restored pretty much in 10 the. same period that this building was put for 11 sale. 12 MR. FELDMAN: The parking was 13 there. 14 MR. HUNTER: Before, not for many 15 years. Before that, it was a rug store. The 16 photograph that Mr. Feldman was talking about is 17 this one. The photograph on the right is the one 18 he's referring to was taken through the window, and 19 you can see the roof structure of the building. 20 The building is very robust. It's got thick walls, 21 huge beams, probably huge supports. Before it was 22 supporting plumbing supplies, cast iron furnaces, 23 boilers. 24 The building on the left is
Page 56 1 Bourbon Blue. And you can see that potentially 2 it's a very attractive space. It could be 3 restored. It could be retained. Because it's 4 strong, it could be for a multiple of uses that 5 would add life to the canal. Housing, particularly 6 condominiums, don't add life at ground level. 7 There's parking at ground level. They're 8 isolated. They have balconies, but because they're 9 near the Schuylkill River, they won't provide any 10 animation to the canal. So I can really imagine_ 11 different reuse of this building would. 12 And the reason that we're not 13 citing the restaurant, there could be a number of 14 different uses. It's right next to Main Street. 15 In the future there will be this development across 16 from Venus Island. In the future, the canal will 17 be dredged and there will be an improvement, and 18 therefore, this building has got great potential as 19 it stands. I think that's enough. 20 MR. AUSPITZ: Thank you. 21 MR. SCHIRMER: Our next brief 22 witness is John Cluver, the historical architect. 23 MR. CLUVER: John Cluver, Voith 24 and Mactavish Architects, 1616 walnut Street. Just Page 57 1 a couple issues. One, this building is on the 2 national register, as such is eligible for federal 3 rehabilitation tax credits, but would not be 4 eligible, as such, with this kind of development, 5 in my opinion. If anything like that had been 6 pursued as part of this consideration for the 7 project, other uses, such as the restaurant, might 8 be more amenable to that kind of use and more 9 consistent with the historic character of the 10 building. 11 Second, the development is five 12 stories above this building. It's quite a large 13 growth on top of a relatively small warehouse, plus 14 it requires parking to be at its lowest level. 15 This creates a couple of issues. One is the 16 looming mass above the existing building, which 17 really does detract from the historic character. 18 It also requires ventilation 19 louvers to go to the windows along the canal tow 20 path. So we're talking about how this will improve 21 the tow path, but in reality, the area you will 22 have along there is enclosed parking with louvers. 23 And I don't know if any sound issues have been 24 considered or noise issues or exhaust issues.
Page 58 1 Likewise, with this mechanical 2 lift system, if there had been any traffic studies 3 or other things considered about the total load and 4 reload time to allow cars to park in this space and 5 to get in and out of that alley so they don't block 6 the adjacent properties. 7 MR. AUSPITZ: Thank you. 8 MR. SCHIRMER: And Jane Glenn, 9 Manayunk Neighborhood Council. 10 MS. GLENN: Jane Glenn, 293 11 Hermitage Street, Philadelphia. I just want to say 12 I was on the Advisory Committee for the tow path 13 improvements, for the Venus Island Rec Center 14 improvements, and now also for East Falls Manayunk 15 riverfront access improvement. 16 And that Rector Street, with the 17 pedestrian bridge going to the new rec center will 18 be a gateway to the river, to the tow path, to the 19 rec center, and this will pretty much block that 20 view, which we're trying to open it, bring people 21 down to the river and have it be a vibrant 22 extension of Main Street, and this really sets as a 23 blockade to that area. 24 MR. AUSPITZ: Thank you.
Page 59 1 Talk to me for one second about 2 the vents. 3 Somebody going on the tow path, 4 what will they see? 5 MR. FELDMAN: Jonathan Broh, 6 project architect. 7 MR. BROH: Jonthan Broh, JK 8 Roller Architects, 1128 Walnut Street, Suite 200. 9 Along the ground floor, along the 10 canal path, the windows would be maintained-instead 11 of glass. There would be a mesh or some-type of 12 screen, as stated before, for ventilation. There 13 will be a pedestrian door roughly in the center of 14 the facade, which will allow bicycle access for 15 people who live within the units. 16 The floor above it, as part of 17 the historical building, these are actually 18 apartment units, themselves, so there would be 19 light and activity in this upper floor here, and 20 there would be balconies accessing one balcony per 21 unit. 22 MS. EDEN: So the level that's 23 level with the path is passively-ventilated 24 garage?
Page 60 1 MR. BROH: Correct. 2 MR. FELDMAN: With the landscape 3 screening that we have shown here. 4 MS. EDEN: Which is shown where? 5 MR. FELDMAN: Which is shown 6 here, right along. It's on the rendering. 7 MS. EDEN: That's not a 8 rendering. I mean, that's not anything with any 9 kind of specifications. 10 MR. FELDMAN: We can provide 11 that. 12 MS. EDEN: We don't know how wide 13 it is, how tall it is. 14 MR. FELDMAN: We can provide the 15 Board that. 16 MR. AUSPITZ: Also, the windows 17 that are original on the warehouse, are you going 18 to change them and put balconies in? 19 What are you doing? 20 Are you putting sliding doors, or 21 what. is going to be there? 22 MR. BROH: Existing there are 23 double doors. We maintain the door type, as is 24 currently used, and we just probably put slight
Page 61 1 small Juliet balcony. Right now they're showing 2 projected, but we could bring them in, if that was 3 objectionable. 4 MR. FELDMAN: But there are the 5 double that's there already. 6 MR. AUSPITZ: They're wooden? 7 MR. BROH: I believe so. 8 MR. AUSPITZ: Well, don't 9 believe. 10 You follow me? 11 MR. BROH: Yes. 12 MR. AUSPITZ: A lot of this 13 hinges on that feel on that tow path, and it's 14 critical. 15 MR. FELDMAN: Mr. Chairman, if 16 you go through the minutes, there's a lot of time 17 spent on this issue. We were trying to play with 18 -- we need to provide some parking here, but at 19 the same time, we're trying to make this as 20 attractive as possible. That's why we have kept 21 this entire building here. We have the 22 landscaping. We have the connection there. 23 These are going to be the 24 residents that are going to support this retail up
Page 62 1 and down Main Street and really make sure this 2 building survives. 3 MR. AUSPITZ: Let me tell you 4 something. Survive in front of us is your first 5 goal. And I'm getting a vibe. This is why I 6 always say, counsel, that the people here, I know 7 the people and we like to hear something. We're 8 messing a little bit too far with the tow path, are 9 you going to hurt the feel, and we have to see that 10 get straightened out a little bit. I'm not saying 11 not have a building surround it, but you're going 12 too far. 13 It has to -- you don't want to 14 kill the warehouse feel of the tow path. That's 15 what it was. So I think that's something that has 16 to be visited. You're not going to do mesh windows 17 because the warehouse never had mesh windows. You 18 have to figure out some kind of ventilation 19 somehow. 20 MR. BROH: We can do an active 21 ventilation system. 22 MR. AUSPITZ: But it would have 23 to go up to the roof or something else. 24 MR. BROH: I understand, of
Page 63 1 course. 2 MS. EDEN: I have another 3 question about the rendering. 4 In comparing it to the 5 architectural drawing, A-31, and I see some sort of 6 handicap ramp, or emergency exit system, or 7 something that I don't see is shown here on the 8 canal path elevation, but I don't see it in that 9 rendering. 10 MR. BROH: It's obscured by the 11 plantings in the rendering. 12 MR. AUSPITZ: Can you tilt that 13 forward just a little bit? 14 MS. EDEN: It's a third of the 15 building. 16 MR. AUSPITZ: Why doesn't he send 17 us some real renderings of what that tow path is 18 going to look like? You're going to have an 19 elevator anyway. Do that through your lobby or 20 something else on the other side. 21 MR. FELDMAN: That was for the 22 pedestrian and bicycle access in and out of the 23 building. That was part of the interaction. 24 MR. AUSPITZ: Just picture the
Page 64 1 little log cabin out in Valley Forge. You're not 2 going to put jalist (phonetic) windows on it. This 3 is what I'm afraid you're doing. We're willing to 4 talk to preserve the building to do something above 5 the building. We're not saying that's a bad idea 6 at all. 7 Also, I want to talk to keep it 8 more modern, only to have it recede into the sky 9 more than putting solid brick on the front over 10 there, unless -- but definitely, you cannot touch 11 that bottom warehouse at all in any way, shape or 12 form. You can put the parking on the other side, 13 but nothing on the tow path. 14 MR. FELDMAN: I have got one of 15 the best architectural firms in the City. You're 16 hearing - 17 MR. BROH: All the comments with 18 regards to the tow path and the building, I think 19 we can accommodate. The only one issue, probably 20 one, is some kind of pedestrian access directly to 21 the tow path. But if that could not be 22 accommodated 23 MR. AUSPITZ: Well, there must 24 have been a door somewhere on that side, right?
Page 65 1 MR. BROH: There is. I mean, 2 we'd still have to have some kind of stairs. We 3 could get rid of the ramp but there would be some 4 stair requirement. 5 MR. AUSPITZ: Where was the 6 original door? 7 MR. BROH: This door right here 8 where we're showing the landing, where the stair 9 lands, is the existing door that we would try to 10 maintain for the pedestrian access. To the extent 11 we can access the tow path without a large ramp or 12 stairs or whatever, that's what we'd like to 13 accommodate. And we can work with whomever to 14 discuss the materials of the ramp. 15 MR. AUSPITZ: We also want to see 16 the window treatments of what you're going to do 17 exactly. 18 MR. BROH: Understood. 19 MS. EDEN: What are you showing 20 on the rendering below the balcony? 21 MR. BROH: That's just a shadow 22 or something. 23 MR. FELDMAN: There's no change; 24 correct?
Page 66 1 MR. BROH: Right. This drawing 2 here, 83.2, is the architectural intent. So 3 there's slight differences from the rendering to 4 the elevation. 5 MS. EDEN: How far do those 6 balconies project out? 7 MR. BROH: Currently, they 8 project three feet. But again, we can remove them 9 completely. 10 MR. AUSPITZ: You're talking 11 about the ones on the - 12 MS. EDEN: On the original. The 13 balconies on the proposed new construction do not 14 project out from over that cornice, do they? 15 MR. BROH: Slightly. They do 16 project out slightly. 17 MS. EDEN: How far? 18 MR. BROH: About 18 inches. 19 MS. EDEN: Why? 20 MR. AUSPITZ: Let me tell you 21 something, that's not slightly. Pull it back. 22 We need a little sensitivity 23 training. And the rest of the guys over there that 24 are all over there roaming around, you're close
Page 67 1 here. Nobody's throwing you out of the room, and 2 we're going to build here. There's no question 3 we're going to build something here. But this has 4 to be really refined. 5 If you want to get input from 6 them, that's fine. And yes, we recognize the firm 7 obviously. So do it on your own. But this is 8 lacking sensitivity and that's what's causing the 9 situation. And we don't do overhangs. If you want 10 to go to 11th, and Washington and look what Grasso 11 did there to us, that will never happen again. 12 MS. EDEN: That's my question. 13 Is there any other part of this 14 overbuild that projects? 15 MR. BROH: There is not and there 16 won't be. 17 MR. AUSPITZ: It has to pull 18 back. It really has to. So send us the renderings 19 and let us look at that. I suggest, and we can do 20 this quickly, because we're ready. We're not going 21 to waste time with this. Just look at it that you 22 cannot touch the original building at all on the 23 river side. You can't come over in any way, shape 24 or form. The idea is to make that whole top piece
Page 68 1 disappear, not stand out. 2 MR. STATEN: On the double doors, 3 is there right now any gate or something? 4 MR. BROH: Right now there's 6 not. I didn't look at it close enough to tell historically whether or not there was. We can 7 research that and find out. 8 MR. STATEN: I want gates right 9 in front. 10. MR. AUSPITZ: Send us that and 11 when we'll go from there. 12 Planning Commission? 13 MS. BRUMBELOW: Mr. Chairman and 14 members of the Board - 15 MR. AUSPITZ: Hold it just one 16 second. 17 Does anybody else want to say 18 something? 19 MS. GRIFFIN: My name is Joy L. 20 Griffin. My address is 105 Roxborough Avenue, 21 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19127, and I am a 22 neighbor within 500 feet of 3 Rector Street. 23 The reason for the 24 dissatisfaction, and this -- I'm considered the low
Page 69 1 man on the totem pole, because everything is 2 towards development, but there's no real focus on 3 what is happening in the neighborhood to the 4 residents of the neighborhood. 5 I live a very short walk away 6 from 3 Rector Street. To have more apartments put 7 on Rector Street in the configuration that it is is 8 going to be a hardship on the neighborhood. 9 MR. AUSPITZ: Can I tell you 10 something? 11 MS. GRIFFIN: Yes. 12 MR. AUSPITZ: I'm incredibly 13 older than you are. We had the same conversation 14 about you guys coming in, and the generation before 15 you in Manayunk. The yunkers (sic) -- do you 16 follow me? Without development -- do you follow 17 me? 18 So you're there, enjoy it, but 19 you have to always have development. 20 MS. GRIFFIN: That's the problem, 21 sir, because we are not able to enjoy it because 22 our concerns are not taken into consideration. 23 They were developed right over top of. The same 24 difference with this situation. They're talking
Page 70 1 about exhaust. They're talking about fans. These 2 things run day and night. 3 How are you going to sleep? 4 We're in old houses. We don't have central air. 5 They have central air. So our windows are open. 6 We have to listen to this. I mean, there is -- I 7 mean, there should be just a tad more sensitivity 8 to the residents is all I'm trying to say. 9 MR. AUSPITZ: Okay. Thank you. 10 MS. GRIFFIN: The other point is 11 it wasn't -- I didn't have a clear understanding 12 that the Labov building was open and available for 13 what it is. I, myself, have started a nonprofit 14 organization. And I, myself, put in a proposal for 15 the Labov building. It is something that would be 16 for the community, a type of a community center. 17 And it would be able to keep the building intact. 18 Now, I know that this discussion has gone on a long 19 way. And it seems like we're with the horse and 20 the buggy, but that's the problem. We're not kept 21 in the loop. Everything is done - 22 MR. AUSPITZ: Did you put an 23 offer to buy this building? 24 MS. GRIFFIN: Yes, I did.
Page 71 1 MR. FELDMAN: When was that? 2 MS. GRIFFIN: You got the 3 proposal. 4 MR. FELDMAN: No, I didn't. -- he has 5 MS. GRIFFIN: Mr. Labov 6 the proposal. I put in a proposal, not a dime less 7 of his asking price. So I'm just -- I'm stunned 8 because the neighborhood people never get a chance 9 to do anything and to preserve some of our 10 quaintness. 11 Everything is being developed, 12 overdeveloped, and it's just squeezing Manayunk 13 out. That's what you come to Manayunk for. That's 14 why they want to build there. It's a safe, cozy, 15 little neighborhood. But we're progressing at a 16 point where we're squeezing that part of Manayunk 17 out. 18 Now, it's also been stated that 19 there's going to be significant development on 20 Venus Island. There will be a bridge across from 21 Rector Street. 22 How come we cannot use that 23 building as a part of the historical part of 24 Manayunk, which is what people are coming there
Page 72 1 for? It does haven't to be. 2 MR. AUSPITZ: I have to be very 3 careful. You offered them the full asking 5 price for this property? 6 MS. GRIFFIN: Yes, I did. Yes, 7 did. 8 MR. AUSPITZ: You might want to 9 address that on the record. 10 MR. FELDMAN: Mr. Chairman, we 11 have the attorney for the property owner here. 12 MR. CANUSO: Vito Canuso, 200 13 South Broad Street, attorney for the Labov family 14 for in excess of 25 years. 15 The proposal she's referring to 16 consisted of -- the source of funding would be a 17 list of various foundations and contributions from 18 various sources, which was not a realistic source 19 of money that we could address in a relative period 20 of time. We saw no applications to any of the 21 foundations for which they sought funding. 22 We saw no realistic time span as 23 to how long that would take to get that type of 24 funding --
Page 73 1 MS. GRIFFIN: That's not true. 2 It's in my proposal letter. I said that the 3 funding -- the proposal for the securing of the 4 funding would be within 12 months, one year. 5 MR. STATEN: Did you ask somebody 6 to hold the building for a year before they could 7 sell? 8 MS. GRIFFIN: No. What I stated 9 is if it was acceptable, I would initiate the 10 process of beginning to secure the funding, and the 11 funding plan was to secure all of the funding 12 within one year. 13 MR. AUSPITZ: Thank you. 14 MS. GRIFFIN: Thank you. 15 MR. AUSPITZ: Do you have anybody 16 else you want to put on quickly, because it's now 17 quarter to four? 18 MR. FELDMAN: Bob Swarbrick from 19 Manayunk Development Corporation, who is here to 20 talk about how this is consistent with what 21 Manayunk Development Corporation envisioned for the 22 tow path for Manayunk. 23 Bob, do you want to just 24 briefly --
Page 74 1 MR. SWARBRICK: Good afternoon, 2 Chairman. Manayunk Development Corporation, as you 3 were told, voted unanimously, through their Board 4 of Directors Executive Committee. It's something 5 we want to see happen in Manayunk. We'd like to 6 see it happen more. We'd like to have a 7 residential base in addition to the residential 8 base we have now. 9 I have one more comment, and that 10 is the issue of the bridge. I'd like to address 11 one more issue; that is the issue of the bridge. 12 There is no bridge planned for Rector Street. 13 There was a proposal made by Manayunk Development 14 Corporation to the City of Philadelphia through the 15 water company to put a bridge there to make this 16 building a valuable resource to the community and 17 we were denied. CRS, the railroad, will not permit 18 a bridge there in the near future or the long-term 19 future, so that will not happen, not in my 20 lifetime. 21 If there's any questions you have 22 of our organization; we thank you very much for 23 your time. 24 MR. AUSPITZ: Thank you, sir.
Page 75 1 MS. CHAPMAN: Just very briefly, 2 I will enter an appearance on the record in support 3 of this application and the zoning variance. My 4 name is Julia Chapman. I'm the Chief of Staff for 5 the Fourth Council District. The property is 6 within the boundaries of the Fourth Council 7 District. 8 This has been a very complicated 9 project to try to balance a bunch of competing 10 interests between the residential community, the 11 needs and desires of the Historic Commission, and 12 to try to reuse a long-term vacant building that, 13 from my knowledge, has been vacant since about late 14 1999. 15 It's zoned industrial. As the 16 Board knows, industry is not going to come back to 17 that part of Manayunk. We are seeing a lot of 18 residential conversion. And what I wanted to 19 clarify is the reason that our office and the 20 Councilman, at the time, had supported residential 21 over other uses is it's known residential creates 22 the least amount of trip generation. This is right 23 off of Main Street. It is a challenge to get down 24 Rector Street. It dead ends right there at the
Page 76 1 canal and tow path. -So I think that this kind of 2 use is going to have the least amount of impact on 3 Main Street, other than a restaurant or a 4 retail-type establishment. 5 I also would note I drive down 6 Main Street almost every night on my way home. The 7 retail is not thriving right now. It is 8 challenged, and we're seeing a lot of retail 9 closing, and we're seeing restaurants with liquor 10 licenses come in. And that's been a renewed battle 11 that we have been-having with the neighborhood 12 council and voting those kind of changes and 13 conversions. 14 So I think this is the best reuse 15 for this building at this location. 16 MR. FELDMAN: Mr. Chairman, if I 17 may, in conclusion, we believe we satisfy the 18 requirements of 14-1802. We have shown that 19 there's a hardship. We've shown that this has 20 minimal impact on the community. In fact, it's a 21 benefit that we're saving this building, keeping 22 the historic legacy of this building alive, and 23 it's the minimum variance that continues to keep 24 this building there, telling the story of
Page 77 1 Manayunk. 2 And with that, I would ask that 3 all the exhibits that we passed up, 1 through 17, 4 and the letter of the Fourth District be 5 incorporated into the record. 6 MR. AUSPITZ: We're expecting 7 from you to see -- sir? 8 MR. SCHIRMER: In closing, we 9 feel the building doesn't have a real hardship. It 10 could be reused as is. It could be made back to 11 what it was, and just to remember to submit the 12 full binder with the pictures in for the record. 13 MR. AUSPITZ: Planning 14 Commission? 15 MS. BRUMBELOW: Mr. Chairman and 16 members of the Board, this property is indicated 17 for industrial use on the comprehensive plan. The 18 applicant has worked diligently with the Planning 19 Commission in order to develop the plan. 20 Accordingly, we support the granting of the 21 variance. 22 MR. AUSPITZ: Thank you. 23 MR. FELDMAN: Thank you. 24 MR. SCHIRMER: Thank you.
Page 78 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 (Whereupon, the hearing was 10 concluded.) 11 12 13 14 15 -- 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Page 79 1 C E R T I F I C A T E 2 3 STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA 4 COUNTY OF BUCKS 5 6 I, SUSAN L. SINGLAR, a Court 7 Reporter and Notary Public in and for the State of 8 Pennsylvania, do hereby certify that the foregoing 9 transcript of the Zoning Board of Adjustment 10 hearing for 3 Rector Street, Philadelphia, 11 Pennsylvania, taken on Wednesday, October 4, 2006 12 is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, 13 skill and ability. 14 15 16 17 SUSAN L. SINGLAR 18 19 (The foregoing certification of 20 this transcript does not apply to any reproduction 21 of the same by any means, unless under the direct 22 control and/or supervision of the certifying 23 reporter.) 24