Sunday, February 2, 2014

New Mount Sinai Plans Reveal More Parking, Shorter Town Homes

A version of this report appears on The Passyunk Post, which you can find here.

New rendering of proposed three-story houses from 4th and Reed Sts. (Via Barton Partners)

A second community meeting regarding the development of the old Mount Sinai Hospital at 4th and Reed Sts. was held last Monday night in Pennsport. Developer Gagan Lakhmna, Attorney Richard DeMarco, and Architect/Project Manager Jeff DiRomaldo of Barton Partners were on hand to reveal much different plans from the first meeting back in December. 

Two-story, three-level parking deck added to the plan (Via Barton Partners)

Here is a snapshot of the new proposal:
  • Town home component would shift from 44 foot, four-story homes to 36 foot, three-story homes.
  • A 22 feet high, two-story parking garage replaces the proposed interior surface lot. This bumps parking from 137 spaces up to 210 -- nearly a 1:1 parking ratio. The garage will be shorter than the town homes and not be visible from the street.
  • Town homes at 5th and Reed Sts. would no longer have front loading garages. A single driveway leading to a seven space "auto court" behind the town homes.
  • The 2,500 sq. ft. retail component on 4th Street is still in the plan. It will be marketed as a retail "opportunity." Lakhmna will hold another community meeting once there is a better idea about what type of business can occupy the space. No, Jose Garces was not mentioned at this meeting.
  • If all goes according to plan, Lakhmna explained he still expects the original 36 month timeline for the completion of the project and that he could break ground on the first town homes this April or May, provided he obtains the necessary variances, permits, and financing.
  • Lakhmna envisions a potential daily construction schedule of around 7am to 4pm on weekdays with an occasional Saturday. 
  • A "community liason" will be appointed to address any issues between the site and nearby neighbors during the constructions phase.

The proposal for Mount Sinai goes before the Zoning Board on February 12, 2014 at 2pm at 1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor, Room 18002.

In all, it seems as though the new proposal took neighbors' concerns in to heavy consideration and came back with a different vision that pleased most of those in attendance. The height of the town homes was a major sticking point in previous meetings and the new, three-story plans would seem to fit with the houses in the area. Neighbors seemed a little wary of the design but Jeff DiRomaldo insisted they would stick with these designs going forward. The new height of 36 feet is also under the maximum height in the zoning code, meaning a height variance will no longer be required.

Financing of the project seemed to be an issue with those in attendance. Lakhmna explained that he has the financing in place for the town home component and that it would be secured once the zoning is finalized.

Personally, I was amazed at the amount of parking in the new plan. A near 1:1 parking ratio was a clear sign that they were paying close attention during the first round of neighborhood meetings and people seemed pleased. Lakhmna mentioned that the potential for non-tenants to lease parking spaces could be an option as long of it was in line with the property management and space was available. However, he also explained that he would be designing the on-site amenities with the tenants in mind, so keep an eye on that in the future.

Corner of 5th and Dickinson Sts. (via Baron Partners)

Rendering of the main entrance on Reed St. between 4th and 5th (via Barton Partners)


  1. Looking at the diagram above, does this mean that the existing buildings are remaining intact, but these new town homes will surround it? In other words, will the existing pieces of Sinai be re-used and modified?

    1. The existing hospital will be an adaptive re-use project converting it in to 198 rental units.

  2. The developer has made additional changes for the better thanks to the very detailed letter provided by Dickinson Square West to the developer and the ZBA. This is a good example on how negotiations can make a project better.

    The number of rental apartments is lowered to 175 (from 198). Interior parking has been pushed back further from the back of the houses on Dickinson St. but also resulted in fewer spots. I believe there will now be 157 spots total. One townhouse at the corner of 4th & Reed was eliminated to increase the size of smaller lots on 4th. This will also create more green space.

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