CHOP Schuylkill Avenue Project
Childrens Hospital is planning to develop Schuylkill Avenue (old JFK Vocational School and Springfield Beer sites) into nearly 2.5 million SF of office/research (no patients) space over the next few decades. The first phase of this involves the erection of a 22-story office tower at the base of Bainbridge Street, along with a parking garage, multiple public open spaces, and a surface parking lot where the JFK building is.
CHOP has set up a special website for this project that includes plans and notes from their last two public meetings in 2013.
What follows is a brief summary of CHOP's outreach to SOSNA and the community involvement to-date.
- October 2009: Peter Grollman, Director of Government Affairs and Community Relations at CHOP, reaches out to SOSNA about pending purchase of property on Schuylkill; requests opportunity to present ideas to the SOSNA Board.
- October 28, 2009: SOSNA Board Meeting (click for mtg minutes) at which CHOP presents plans for first time to SOSNA - includes concept of 14-story tower on Schuylkill Avenue, continuation of Schuylkill River trail, and more. SOSNA Board members provide feedback including: "feasibility and financing of the trail extension, completion of traffic and circulation studies, incorporating a variety of uses, especially on the ground floor, and stormwater management controls."
- December 1, 2009: CHOP purchases 700 Schuylkill Avenue for $12,250,000.
- February 24, 2010: CHOP gives SOSNA Zoning Committee and Board members tour of newly-completed Colket Translational Reserach Building on CHOP's West Philly campus, to provide an example of type, quality, sustainability of CHOP construction projects; during tour CHOP presents an updated version of their Schuylkill Avenue plans.
- Spring 2010: South X Schuylkill Task Force formed between SOSNA, the Center City Resident Association (CCRA), South Street West Business Association (SSWBA), in conjunction with a University of Pennsylvania City Planning studio, "to help create a vision for how the area around the South Street Bridge west of 22nd Street might develop"; team conducts multiple public meetings, to "incorporated the voices of many community residents, businesses, and property owners in the area and seeks a framework for future neighborhood planning by the City, SEPTA, and current and future residents – while taking into account the rich history of the area."
- May 2010 - South X Schuylkill - A Vision for the South Street Bridge Area, 2010-2050 is published.
- November 2010 - CHOP reaches out to SOSNA to give a heads up about future demolition of brick buildings at 27th Street and South Street, which CHOP says are structurally deficient.
- May-June 2011 - CHOP demolishes brick buildings on Schuylkill Avenue near SSB, distributing flyers to near-neighbors with details about the work.
- August 29, 2011 - CHOP hosts a meeting for stakeholders and community leaders to meet the design team for the Schuylkill Avenue project, Cooper Robertson & Partners; the team is provided a copy of the South X Schuylkill report/summary (the Vision Plan had been incorporated into the RFP that CHOP put out to select the design team).
- May 15, 2012 - CHOP holds a meeting at Naval Square with the design team to unveil the Master Plan for the Schuylkill Avenue site. Notes/recap of that meeting found here.
- July 7, 2012 - Inquirer Architecture Critic, Inga Saffron, opines on the CHOP Master Plan.
- October 1, 2012 - CHOP erects mock-ups on Schuylkill Avenue for their new Ambulatory Care Center in West Philly.
- May 7, 2013 - CHOP holds community meeting at The Philadelphia School to update neighbors on the project. Recap of meeting here. CHOP presentation found here.
- December 2, 2013 - CHOP holds second community meeting at The Philadelphia School (TPS) to present plans for Phase 1 - a 22-story office tower. Recap of meeting here. CHOP presentation found here.
- December 2013 - CHOP submits plans to the Department of Licenses and Inspections for zoning/use permits.
- February 5, 2014 - SOSNA, jointly with the South Street West Business Association and South Street West Civic Association, host special informational zoning meeting at TPS to review plans for phase 1 and share comments and concerns. The slides presented at this meeting can be found here.
- February 12, 2014 - The SOSNA Architectural Review Committee (ARC) meets with CHOP design team to discuss project. The slides presented at this meeting can be found here. Notes here.
- February 26, 2014 - Near-neighbors and SOSNA representatives meet with CHOP and their traffic engineers to review traffic safety measure, impact of 2,000 employees on South Street Bridge and surrounding neighborhood streets, and share concerns.
- February 27, 2014 - Leadership of the Design Advocacy Group writes op-ed about CHOP. Read here.
- March 4, 2014 - Hidden City Philadelphia publishes long article about CHOP project and role in the city. Read here.
- March 28, 2014 - Inga Saffron, Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic, publishes column about CHOP design, stating "The city needs to send Children's Hospital back to the drawing board. What happens now on the river, stays on the river forever.". Read here.
- April 1, 2014 - 1 PM - Civic Design Review for Schuylkill Avenue CHOP Project - click to review CDR package from CHOP. 1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor. Click here to read Inga Saffron's recap of the meeting in the Inquirer. Plan Philly has full list of CDR recommendations here. This Old City also has a post about this as well here.
April 2, 2014 - 5:45-7:45 - LAST RCO MEETING ABOUT CHOP, at 2501 South Street (Philadelphia School, across from Liquor Store). PLEASE REVIEW PLANS HERE.
- April 16, 2014 - 2:00 PM - CHOP APPEARS AT Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA). ZBA Calendar # 22285. 1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor. Information about appearing before the ZBA can be found here (scroll to bottom of page). SOSNA submits letter (click link to view letter) that is neutral on the specific loading dock variance but requested CHOP to hold its decision so the Civic Design Review and Philadelphia City Planning Commission can weigh in. ZBA DECIDES TO HOLD THE VOTE UNTIL CDR AND PCPC SUBMIT RECOMMENDATION.
- May 6, 2014 - 1:00 PM - 2nd CDR Meeting for CHOP. Presentation package available here. List of CDR recommendations here.
- May 16, 2014: Inga Saffrom, Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic writes another article about CHOP's project. Read here.
- May 20, 2014 - 1:00 PM - CHOP Appears at Philadelphia City Planning Commission. 1515 Arch Street, 18th floor. PCPC will be weighing recommendations of the CDR and issuing its own recommendation to the ZBA. PCPC recommends the ZBA grant the variances on the condition that CHOP do long-term master planning for the site. Read PlanPhilly recap here. Plans here.
- June 2, 2014 - Councilman Johnson submits letter of support to ZBA following CHOP's agreement to 5 key compromises negotiated with neighbors and RCOs.
- JUNE 3, 2014 - ZBA Grants CHOP zoning variances. Details here.
Call the SOSNA office at 215-732-8446 with any questions or concerns.