Renderings of a new potential large-scale project at 2001 Beach St. in Olde Richmond were unveiled to community residents Thursday night at an informational meeting hosted by the Olde Richmond Civic Association. The project includes a mix of apartments, townhomes and retail space. The total dwelling unit count tops out at 1,096, complete with a total of 1,210 parking spaces. The project is a joint venture between developers Concordia Group and D3 Developers.
“This is actually our third project between Concordia and D3 together,” said Concordia partner Devin Tuohey. “We built a project in South Philadelphia – it’s 91 town homes at the old Mt. Sinai Hospital site at 4th and Reed. It’s called Southwark on Reed. We finished that last year. We’re currently developing a 60-unit townhome project in Manayunk on the old Venice Island site called The Locks.”
Greg Hill, founder and managing partner of D3 Developers, said that the goal of the project “is to have a mix of prices from more expensive to more affordable…at varying price points.”
There wasn’t much pushback from residents who attended the meeting, who were generally supportive of the project.
Plans for the potential development featured 248 row homes. The rest of the dwelling units will be located in four separate seven-story apartment buildings fronting on Beach Street. The townhomes will be located behind the apartment buildings, right along the Delaware River. In the middle of the townhomes will be a grassy park, which will be, like the entire development, open to the public.
“This will not be some gated community,” Hill said.
The ground floor of each apartment building will be a mix of retail space and parking. The second levels will consist of parking wrapped in living units, and the remaining five floors will all be apartments. The square footage of each building will range from 201,000 square feet to 391,000 square feet. In addition to the four apartment buildings, a 15,000-square-foot amenity building with no dwelling units will be constructed. Also, a 2,500-square-foot structure will be built to the north of the project, of which the details have yet to be sorted out.
“Right now, we envision not as a community center,” Tuohey said, “but…a covered pavilion or some sort of gathering space. We haven’t fully defined it yet, to be perfectly honest, but the thought is not an enclosed community [space]. It’s more of an open pavilion [area].”
The development is directly south of an area dubbed Graffiti Pier, which is owned by Conrail and has historically been a popular spot for young people to loiter and take photos despite having been shut down in May of last year.
Last month, the development team held a public meeting regarding soil testing that was conducted on the site. At the meeting, the team announced plans to voluntarily remediate the area of excessive arsenic and lead prior to building the development. The remediation will be completed under Pennsylvania’s Act 2 law, which incentivizes voluntary remediation and development of contaminated properties via financial assistance from the state. In its heyday, 2001 Beach St. had been a shipyard prior to 1964, according to a report by environmental consultant Penn Environmental & Remediation.
“There used to be a massive shipbuilding operation here,” said the project’s architect, Brian Phillips, who explained a bit of the location’s history at Thursday’s meeting. “This whole corridor was filled with all kinds of industrial production.”
The property was used for refurbishing purposes, including paint stripping, repainting and the remodeling of older ships, in addition to shipbuilding purposes, the Penn E&R report says.
According to Jeff Walsh, vice president of Penn E&R, the impacted soil will be excavated from the site and sent to a permitted facility to receive those soils. After that, the land will be capped with 2 feet of clean soil. Lastly, “The cleanup plan calls for vapor barriers in any buildings [constructed on the site] that add an additional protective measure towards indoor air,” Walsh said at the April meeting.
According to Penn E&R’s report, the site has not been utilized since the 1970s, with the exception of minor deposits of debris and filling. The site is currently vacant.