Construction costs are set at $325,500, with $28,000 allocated to general construction and $15,000 per lot allocated to electrical, mechanical and plumbing work.
The attached structure, which will rise one door down from the northeast corner of North 23rd and Pemberton streets, will be 16 feet wide and 56 feet deep, supported by a 14-foot-deep backyard. The building will rise 33 feet to the main deck and 36 feet to the top of the parapet. The ground floor will be raised about four feet above the sidewalk, roughly in line with its neighbors. Ceiling heights will be nine feet on the first and third floors and eight feet on the second floor and in the basement.
On numerous occasions, Philly YIMBY has flouted the city’s zoning laws that often encourage the demolition of existing row housing only to be replaced by new buildings with roughly the same floor area, or slightly larger, and often with an increase of one floor above the original . . The glaring issue with regard to this approach is not only the infrequent waste of a serviceable building or restoration for the same marginal increase in density, but also the fact that, at least aesthetically, contemporary buildings are a downgrade compared to contemporary buildings. Their pre-war counterparts.
In fact, the development at 2249 Pemberton Street also includes tearing down a two-story house with the goal of replacing it with a single-family residence one story high. However, in a pleasant surprise, the replacement promises to be a clear improvement over the original. Although charming in the classic Philadelphia style, the house on the row is somewhat nondescript, with a stuccoed exterior and a simple cornice that includes a simpler facade than that of its neighbors.
In contrast, while the new building will maintain much of the existing model, it will make some improvements. The facade will be upgraded to brick and the side windows will have paneled grilles that match the adjacent structures. The third floor will be designed as a mansard roof, making it an attractive and complementary pairing for the vertical extension that was added above the adjacent two-storey house sometime around 2015. The porch will be about a foot narrower than its predecessor, recovering valuable crosswalk space on the narrow, eight-foot-wide sidewalk. The rear extent of the structure will match the adjacent buildings, maintaining the ambience found within the block’s backyards. Finally, the roof deck provides much needed outdoor residential space where the previous structure had none.
City planning codes still require comprehensive reform that encourages building preservation and vertical expansions rather than demolitions, unless done to make room for buildings that provide a significant increase in square footage and housing stock. However, the design by JOS Serratore & Company Architects demonstrates that attractive, site-sensitive architecture can still be produced in a cost-effective manner even within Philadelphia’s current zoning restrictions.
Located near the western edge of the Graduate Hospital District, 2249 Pemberton Street is well away from any subway or trolley service; However, Route 7, 12 and 40 buses stop in the immediate vicinity, and local destinations such as South Street, the Schuylkill River Trail and the University City Medical District on the opposite bank of the Schuylkill River can be reached within a relatively short distance. Short walk or bike ride.
2249 Pemberton Street. Zoning table. Credit: Gus Serratore & Associates
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