False Alarm at the Falls Bridge

Nothing to see here, just the Water Dept again… 

Sorry, Fallsers! I know we’re all dying to say goodbye to that depressing slab of dingy concrete smack dab in the middle of our most scenic, historic and visible corridor. Since 2015, developer David Grasso (Grasso Holdings) has had plans to build a $70 million project here, providing space to live, work, shop and enjoy the riverfront.

Hopes were high recently when a new slew of bulldozers and work vehicles showed up, along with promising pipes, piles of substrate and other trappings of construction. Of course there was speculation online and then… nope.

EFCC’s zoning chair Hilary Langer followed up with Grasso, who  unfortunately was not responsible for the on-site activity. Turns out, PWD is using the area as staging for the big water main installation project underway on Ridge Ave. Grasso disclosed, however, he expects to have his building permits ready in December so he can start construction in February.

Do we believe him?  This project has had community approval since 2016, and got the City’s greenlight in 2018.  In January 2020, he told EFCC work would begin “as early as February” but then the previous August they’d said they’d break ground before the end of summer. However, seems Grasso recently sent out letters to at least one near neighbor letting them know that construction is set to begin in early 2021.

So yeah. I guess we’ll have to see how things pan out. If all goes well, this ugly old lot will have a new five-story building here, with four stories of residential 142 units atop a ground floor of commercial space (including plans for a small grocer or fresh market). Also in the works for this space: a café and an Indego bike share.

Entrances on Ridge and Kelly Drive (on Kelly, only right turns in & out). PennDOT is also requiring the project to add a 3rd lane on Calumet (for turning) and one on Ridge that’ll be for traffic during rush hour and off-peak parking. VIEW PLANS HERE.

Dobson Mills

Also 4021 Ridge aka the empty lot at the corner of Dobson Mills as you head into Scotts Lane (where the smoke stack used to be):  about 135 rental units with 91 parking spaces. That project is about ready to get started, it’s by-right so they don’t need community approval. EFCC is hoping to negotiate a sidewalk on Scotts Lane to McDevitt Recreation Center but so far plans only call to extend the sidewalk the length of the property. MORE INFO HERE.

Hilary stressed that there are lots of “imminent projects” that have gotten approvals. Hundreds of new apartments could be coming to East Falls in 2021. It’s an especially important time for neighbors to be vigilant about traffic and safe streets.

Speaking of: plans underway for new residential construction on tiny, dead-end  Division Street. Get the scoop now so you’re ready for the developer’s upcoming community presentation.

Your Vote Counts!

As the neighborhood’s only democratic zoning body, East Falls Forward provides every neighbor and business owner a voice in new projects and development. EFF is a Registered Community Organization with a pro-urban mission aimed at creating an inclusive, welcoming, walkable place to live, with attractive shops, services and restaurants. EFF values historic preservation, greenspace and cultural diversity.

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To get the latest on community buzz — and register your vote on important issues affecting the Falls — join EFF at eastfallsforward.org. Or follow us on Facebook. Community ZOOM meetings 3rd Thursdays.

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