It’s easy to sit back and wonder what’s going on with that vacant lot in your neighborhood. It’s harder to actually do something about it.
Tonight, the residents of Bella Vista will have that opportunity when the future of one such vacant lot hangs in the balance.
The parcel, shaped like a triangle, rests where 6th and Christian streets intersect with Passyunk Avenue. It exists as the result of an ornery owner, a lackadaisical city uninterested in improving the lot, and questions amongst neighbors about just what to do about the vacant space.
Just a few years ago, the lot functioned as a community park, with neighbors having spontaneously improved the area. Then, the fences went up, with the owner asserting his rights to do what he wants with his property. As a result, the whimsical pop-up known affectionately as Triangle Park was no more.
Tonight, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m., the Bella Vista Neighbors Association will discuss a developer’s plan to build a functional, pedestrian friendly mixed-use space there. The meeting takes place at Palumbo Recreation Center, 700 S. 9th Street, near the intersection of 10th and Fitzwater streets.
Urbanist political action committee The 5th Square says that, since the city doesn’t seem interested in turning the lot into a permanent park, a building will inevitably go there. “The only question,” says The 5th Square, “is what type of building this will be: a mixed-use building with ground floor retail that contributes to a lively, walkable Passyunk Avenue, or another gaudy urban McMansion that turns this area into a dead zone for pedestrians.”
Writing for PlanPhilly, Jared Brey explains that the proposal includes “a 57-foot building, rising to 64 feet at the top of a pilothouse, with glassy restaurant space on the ground floor. A commercial kitchen is included in the floor plans.” Brey adds that “the developers are hoping to build 12 apartments. No parking spaces are included.”
Local decisions like zoning are often made by those who show up and participate in meetings like the one going on tonight.
“That’s why we need a good turnout from mixed-use supporters,” argue the folks at The 5th Square, “to balance out the message the Bella Vista zoning committee hears.”
Tues., Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m. Palumbo Recreation Center, 700 S. 9th St. bellavistaneighbors.org
Header Photo: Friends of Triangle Park/Facebook