Lincoln Square project calls for apartments, retail at Broad and Washington

lincoln15
An artist’s rendering of the proposed Lincoln Square apartment and retail complex, seen from the corner of Broad and Carpenter Streets.

Alterra Property Group has joined the development partnership planning apartments and retail space at the northwest corner of Broad Street and Washington Avenue in South Philadelphia.

MIS Capital L.L.C., which has held an option to develop the city-owned property for eight years, teamed with Alterra after previous partner Toll Bros. Inc. backed out of the plan, said MIS founding principal Steven Gendler.

Their proposal calls for a 356-unit apartment building and about 74,000 square feet of shopping in a project that involves the preservation of a 140-year-old train shed at the site, Gendler said.

Along with developer Bart Blatstein's proposal for a residential tower and outdoor shopping mall atop a large retail structure across Broad Street, the project extends a streak of big projects south along central Philadelphia's main north-south artery.

"The Broad and Washington corridor is a huge, underdeveloped, historic urban nexus," Gendler said. "We believe the intersection can support two significant developments."

Alterra's previous developments include the Icon residential project at 1616 Walnut St., which sold last year for $112 million, and the Shirt Corner apartments at Third and Market Streets. MIS developed the current site of the Independence Charter School, among other projects.

Their Lincoln Square project at Broad and Washington is expected to cost more than $100 million, Gendler said, including what they will pay Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. for the 3.4-acre property.

The project, being designed by BLT Architects, is so named, he said, because it is located at the site of the rail station where the body of President Abraham Lincoln was taken for public viewing after his 1865 assassination.

Alterra and MIS are in talks with potential supermarket tenants that would occupy 25,000 to 35,000 square feet of retail space, some of which could be situated in the historic train shed, built about a decade after Lincoln's death, Gendler said.

The project's eight-story apartment structure would wrap the corner of Broad and Washington, surrounding a three-level parking structure with about 360 spaces, he said.

The plan also calls for a publicly accessible walkway linking 15th and Broad Streets, to be called Lincoln Walk, and a plaza beside the rail shed at Broad and Carpenter Streets. Both may accommodate outdoor seating.

By June, Alterra and MIS anticipate having the property rezoned for commercial and residential development from its current industrial designation. They hope to start construction by the end of March 2017 and to complete work within 20 months, Gendler said.

So far, neighbors appear to be reacting positively to the proposal, which was presented to nearby residents last week, said Abby Rambo, executive director of the South of South Neighborhood Association.

"Overall, I think people were excited about the project," Rambo said, although some voiced concerns about the project's density and the amount of parking.

Further community meetings will be held over the next two months, she said.

jadelman@phillynews.com

215-854-2615 @jacobadelman

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