By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The City Planning Commission has approved a zoning bill to remap the area around 22nd Street and Pennsylvania Avenue to re-locate a mammoth Whole Foods store there.
Developer Neal Rodin says the three acre site – where the Best Western currently sits (bounded by Spring Garden, Hamilton, 21st and Pennsylvania Avenue) – would accommodate a 55,000 square food store, with underground parking and 300-350 apartments above, near the Art Museum.
“I always joke, if a developer went to heaven and asked God what’s the best site for a mixed use development, this would be the site,” Rodin said.
It would replace the current, much smaller 30,000 square foot Whole Foods store – a stone’s throw away 20th and Callowhill.
Neighbors want the store to remain in the area, but they’re concerned about making a bad traffic problem worse. Jim McGrath is with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association:
“It feels like you’re giving us a trojan horse. We really don’t know what’s inside of that.”
Rodin says a new street would be created on site before the bottleneck:
“So all of the trucks will come off the street, to load and unload. Parking is also off the street.”
Supporters say while the residential component will be “vertically integrated”, it won’t rise above the 125-foot height limit, and will fit in with low and mid-rise buildings nearby.