Judge clears Post Bros.'s N. Philly warehouse-to-apartment rehab, reversing zoning board decision

A Philadelphia judge has granted the Post Bros. property group zoning clearance to convert the decayed North Philadelphia warehouse known as the Quaker Building into high-end apartments, with lower-floor retail and office space.

This week’s decision by Judge Daniel J. Anders reverses a ruling in September by the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment against allowing residences at the 900 N. Ninth St. building, which stands on a parcel designated for industrial use.

Attorneys for Post Bros., led by Ronald Patterson, argued in their appeal of the ZBA’s ruling that the developer’s plan for the building in the Poplar neighborhood is consistent with the residential uses that surround it and that the zoning board has routinely awarded variances for similar proposals around the city.

“The ZBA’s decision was contrary to the law and in conflict with the unanimous support of community groups and area residents,” the lawyers wrote.

Anders’ order Wednesday reversed the ZBA decision and granted Post Bros.’s appeal. It did not include any explanatory remarks.

ZBA spokesman Paul Chrystie said the city panel “believes it made the correct legal decision” but “respects the judge’s ruling.” Messages left with Patterson and Post Bros. president Matthew Pestronk were not immediately returned.

Post Bros.’s plan calls for renovating the six- and 10-story Quaker Building warehouse, built in 1918 for Strawbridge & Clothier, into a 350-unit apartment building. A new parking structure would be built on an adjacent lot with space for about 135 vehicles.

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