Public recording of February 6th’s community meeting on (tentative) plans for restoration & new construction at this abandoned local landmark (includes transcript & source links)
Development can be heartbreaking, especially when treasured historic buildings are concerned. In Germantown, the fates of three beloved properties hang in a precarious balance – vacant and decaying as they await restoration that has been promised time and time again. And while the community clamors for more services and affordable housing, leaders here float unrealistic projects that seem designed to go nowhere.
Consider three problematic cases:
Germantown High School (c. 1915 – closed 2013) — sold for $100,000 in 2019, it has changed owners/development plans as various entities have finagled their way around community involvement (it’s anyone’s guess what’s happening in there now).
Germantown YWCA (c. 1915 – sold 2006) – enthusiastically-supported plans for senior housing here have been stalled since 2016, but even though the Redevelopment Authority terminated their contract with the ineffectual developer last year, councilmember pushback leaves development at a standstill.
Germantown Town Hall (c. 1923 – closed 1998) – this impressive building with its distinctive bell tower and sweeping rotunda would be an amazing space for dining and events but solid local proposals seem to get blocked in favor of pet developers who fail to deliver.
And here we are. Another ambiguous project, another public meeting. A recent WHYY headline surprised no one: “Germantown Town Hall Project Has a Potential Developer, But No Timeline for Completion.” So basically, a developer and his team glossed over their general plan for mixed-use residential/commercial space on the property, providing one spare rendering, and promising more information as soon as they’re actually selected for the project.
Right now they’re evidently just spit-balling while they wait for PIDC’s approval. Which btw hinges on Councilmember Cindy Bass’s decision, which appears to be obvious since she hosted the ZOOM meeting where West Powelton Development presented their proposal. To be clear: PIDC doesn’t have final say, Cindy does – it’s called “councilmanic prerogative” and it’s a thing in Philly where the councilmember has total control over public real estate dealings in their district. #facts
SOME BACK STORY: Monday’s meeting on Town Hall was a make-up of a November 28th meeting that many people only learned about an hour before – apparently, the notification email glitched and didn’t go out..? And then Cindy’s office said their ZOOM account was hacked by trolls so they closed the meeting, and a lot of neighbors couldn’t get in. For this meeting, you had to register at least 4 days in advance, and even then lots of people weren’t sent a link.
To be safe, we signed up with my personal email as well as our “email@example.com” address — only the personal registration received a ZOOM link. Problems continued online where it seems Cindy’s office failed to upgrade their account to accommodate everyone who tried to attend. Although she sent out a link to the recording afterwards, it opens in ZOOM and inconveniently requires a password to view (5+j$AMNC, which you have to re-enter if you pause playback).
No worries! We record public meetings to document and archive community proceedings that might otherwise be lost in the muddle of time and bureaucracy. This one in particular was so straightforward, we went ahead and transcribed it as well (if you prefer, click the “CC” button for real-time captions as you watch).
Please click the links in this post for context and information to further illuminate this project and other development issues in Germantown (and beyond). Thank you for taking an active interest in local projects, people, and politics.
TOWN HALL VIRTUAL PUBLIC MEETING
Monday, February 6, 2023 (7pm – 8pm)
Presentation by Anthony Fullard, West Powelton Development (and team)
Hosted by Councilmember Cindy Bass, 8th District
NOTE: This recording begins with Anthony Fullard’s opening statement, as we edited out several minutes of chatter/introductions. We did our best to smooth out the unclear parts in this AI-based transcription, please see original video for clarification. Photos & additional videos have been added to complement the narrative. Reactions, questions and corrections welcome in the comments field below.
Anthony Fullard So thank you, Councilwoman, again for putting this meeting together. So that we can talk about this iconic building the Town Hall that if any are from around Germantown Avenue, either from the general Avenue or from around the Germantown area, especially during the battle, Germantown ceremonies that they have, throughout the years you would know about this particular building, and also this historical quarter that is there.
And so, so we’re happy to talk about the feasibility study that we’re trying to do, and that we’ve been asked by PIDC (Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation) to conduct this because we, as a development company worked out and development has expressed interest in putting together a team who looked to develop this project. But before — I thought, I just wanted him just to read a couple of excerpts of what we have been commissioned by PIDC to follow these terms by PIDC in order to do a feasibility study, and then to turn that information over to them, and to see if we would be selected to move forward. Kwaku, would you mind just reading some of those excerpts from our mandate from PIDC?
Kwaku Boateng Yes, sure. Hi, Anthony. Good evening, everybody. So I think just kind of follow up from what a Councilwoman had said earlier, about PIDC being a selecting city agency, I wanted to kind of go through the items that they wanted us to kind of talk about, in terms of the feasibility studies that we’re working on. So the very first item is they wanted us to do a building assessment. In other words, kind of go inside and outside of the building, and really be able to put together a report about the current condition of the building. So that was the very first item. The second item was they wanted us to do a commercial corridor market assessment on Germantown Avenue, just to make sure that if this project were to become viable, that there will be potentially a commercial component and that the corridor will be able to support that.
The next item was they wanted us to do a historic assessment. Since it’s a historic building, to make sure that we know we meet whatever happens in the building meets all the historic credentials and assessment that has already been laid out.
They also wanted us to do an environmental and site engineering assessment of the current building to see if you know, it is even viable to do anything in the building. And then finally, they want us to also have community meetings which the council woman and office gratefully has been hosted. There’s been a second one. So those are the outcomes that PIDC has mandated us to kind of work on, and then present back to PIDC, you know, for them to kind of come up with the next steps and there’ll be a selection process. So that’s where we are thinking.
Anthony Fullard Thank you Kwaku, I really appreciate that. And so this is what you see. Our team doing is not only West Powelton, we are only a part of this process, we have a whole host of team that we work with, in order for us to get to a point to present our home feasibility study package to PIDC to see if we will even qualify or even if we will be selected as a developer to move forward within this process. So, the city is doing is due diligence and as a vetting process in order for us to either move forward to the next step or even be selected to move forward to the next steps.
So, so, this is one of our deliverables is to reach out to the community and to and, and to ask questions of the community as what you have done, we got a host of questions, very good questions that you have posed to us for us to answer. And we will do so, later on in this presentation.
And then also just a little bit about me, again, my name is Anthony Fullard. Born and raised in Philadelphia, I’ve been in the Eighth District 22nd 14 division for over 30 plus years raised five daughters at 203 East Cliveden Street. And, and, and I have been in the construction industry for over 35 years started as a union iron worker and have parlayed that into a steel company and then also into a development company as well.
And so I’ve been doing construction, new construction, foundation construction, erection, construction of buildings and bridges and things of that up and down the East Coast. And now my focus is to come into our communities, especially African American and black and brown communities and to help to build new construction, new housing, income mixed housing, meaning affordable and mixed, and also market rate housing into our community to build homes, that people will have stake in the community for 30 plus years, but also be a part of the Renaissance that is happening in our communities and that are making our communities more attractive that people would want this to be the destination for them to raise their families and to and to help our communities to be more valuable communities and also safe community that people will want to live.
So with all that said, and then I have a team, as you heard from Kwaku, we have CICADA who is our architecture firm, there’s been a tremendous job laying out some really just plain renderings of what we think it could be. But it’s open to have more people to you know, add more suggestions of what could happen here at the Town Hall, historical building, and then also something that we are trying to do in the back of the Town Hall, but the Town Hall will that is our main focus of that historical structure first, and then you will can also hear from our realtor, if you have any questions as relates to deed real estate, and that is cost. So Carlos <unclear>.
And then we also you know, have some of our own team. And investors are also on the line as well. But only just as a support mechanism. But we do have investors that are interested and has already put up money for us to even do this market analysis to see if this is a viable project. So with so with that said, I’m gonna turn this over to our architect and let him start off Darren with your presentation.
Darren Edwards Good evening, everybody. My name is Darren Edwards. I’m one of the principals at CICADA Architecture and Planning. And I also have Nana on the call with me she’s our project architect on this and I am just going to go through and I just want to make it very clear that these are very conceptual plans of what we’ve looked at to to put in both the existing Town Hall building as well as the lot and back into the buildings so.
So what you can see here, oh, sorry, let me start in the first floor. So, to the left is Germantown Avenue to the north is Haines Street. And I should say that the top of the page, North is actually down here. But most of you are aware of the the dome structure kind of at the, at the front of the building, what we propose to do, there is a two story, event space. And then surrounding it is the backup health support spaces for it. And then in the rest of the building on the first floor, there is proposed commercial spaces.
And then what we’re proposing on the back half of the site is a residential apartment building, it will be one bedroom units, there’s a lobby here off of the, the main street side. So that’s the ground floor floor, the first floor plan, and then moving up through the building. And we have the two story event space in the front with some, again, back of house spaces in the back.
And then we’re proposing a series of short-term rental — residential rental — here on the second floor. A lot of history, obviously, in this area, and the hope is that people would like to stay here instead of staying downtown. And then in the back of the site, we have, again, a series of one, one bedroom, rental, long term rental units. And then the third floor moving up through the building, this is an all-residential floor.
So in the existing building, we have one bedroom, long-term lease rental units, as well as in the new addition in the back. And then the idea is that the roof of this structure could be an outdoor event space for the venue, and then an outdoor green space for the residential units in the back. So with that, I will turn it back to Anthony.
Yes. Okay. So as we said, that, you know, is really open of what we think, you know, that we can do in the, the existing structure, and to include a lot of input from the community of what they would like to see, as you heard there and talk about event space first, second floor around the rotunda. And, and also office space there as well, on the first floor, some on the second floor. And I propose is to also we have a vision.
First of all that there’s a bell tower there as well, that we want to keep intact and that we want that to be a part of the historical renovation of the bell tower, we have been in and out of this building, many of times the bell is still there, and we want to try to rehab and then bring that bell back to operation and then have it as a tourist attraction as well that people can go up to the bell tower see it because it’s a you know, dates back into probably the early 1900s or either even the 1800s as well. But but but the structure there is still intact and you still can actually go up to the bell tower stairs and to see the bell. So we want to make that a part of a tourist attraction as well.
But we also want to make the building itself a tourist attraction. As you go inside this building, as it is refurbished, you will see a lot of the interior is still intact. The tile and all of the things that are on the rotunda’s wall is still intact and we want to be able to bring that back, and then again, make it open to the public, open to tourists that want to look at Germantown’s rich historical history there. But at the same time, be able to open up office space to many entrepreneurs and many of our local businesses that want to operate in Germantown and we want to create them a home, create vendor space.
And then and then as we add, then also to, you know, have a Airbnb option for people, and then also a long-term residence for those as well. And then we also, as you moved up to the roof, as they’re shown that green space there, we want to make it even a opportunity for either a, either a pop up catering event on the green roof, or even, we could probably try to attract one of our local restaurants that might want to make that a part of their venue as well. And to take advantage of that roof accessibility, and then to look at over the view of Germantown Avenue from that point there of view, and is a very, very beautiful view. And we believe that it can really enhance any restaurant that will probably want to operate there.
And so, so that’s just, you know, part of our vision, and then also even down in the basement area of the lower area, there is also a couple of other rooms and space, that again, we could look to have community space there for community meetings, and also event space for the community that might want to, you know, have a some type of event, party or, or function there that is, you know, close in the proximity of their neighborhoods, or either their nonprofit.
So, so so so we’re looking to, you know, you know, have this as a mixed-use structure is what our vision is, and then also, for the second phase, to see of a newer structure that will not touch the historical structure, it will be, it will be offset maybe about, you know, four or five feet, where you cannot touch the historical structure, if you are looking to build a new structure. And that’s something that, you know, we will propose in phase two, to help to deal with the ongoing financial support for the historical structure as well.
And so so that’s, that’s our quick vision that we have right now. Now, there was a number of questions. Councilwoman, I’m going to go back to you, how would you like for me to answer these questions? Do you want me to read them? And then answer them? Or do you want to? Or would you like to read them to me? And then from there,
Cindy Bass You know, I was just going to read them to you. And I know, because I know, some of them we’ve condensed, so why don’t I just read them to you, and we can go through them that way.
Also, I do want to acknowledge that I know that some folks are having difficulty accessing the meeting, you know, we did, you know, do what we needed to do to make sure that we had the capacity through ZOOM, but for some reason, they’re not letting additional people and so this meeting is being recorded and will be made available to anyone who wants to see it at any time. So I just want to make sure that that’s clear. And the sake of transparency that this meeting will be is being recorded and will be made available that recording will be made available.
So let me go to the first question, which is: Have you or your company completed any new construction projects from the ground up? If so, what where and when?
Anthony Fullard Okay, yes, we have. First of all, we have over 75 years regarding new construction, from the ground up, West Powelton Development and also Columbus Construction, and also CICADA had designed and built new structures around the city. I mean, all of those firms have their own website again, that’s Columbus Construction, CICADA architect, and also West Powelton Development you can go to any one of those websites and see the see the development that we have done.
West Powelton — me, I can speak directly for my company — we prefer to do new construction, housing. From the ground up, we have 19 houses that we’re building right now right off of Porter Street. We, we’ve built a number of projects in West Philadelphia, the ground up as well, new construction. And then again, as I said, all of my expertise as an iron worker and erector of structures from 13th and Race, the hotel that I built down there, I built the Marriott Head House, on 12th & Market, I did all of the steel erection down there, I built the dental school over at University of Pennsylvania School all-new construction, five-story structure that we built there.
So through my young years of 35-plus, we’ve been involved in many new constructions of all different types of structures that are going to build bridges that I’ve also built and have been a part of, and then CICADA I mean, just go to their website. Right now we are involved into another development with them, a new construction right now four to five story building, right there at 41st and Lancaster, Kwaku was a part of that team as well. Columbus Construction, again, is building that structure, as well as we get the final approvals from the community, and also from the zoning board, as well. So I hope that answers your question.
Cindy Bass Okay, so we’re going to keep moving to the through the questions, we have 22 questions, I want to make sure we get them all in. And then if, if need be, we can go back and have a comment if you know if there’s something that you want to elaborate further on. Okay. The second question, What experience do you or your firm have, with historic building restoration and preservation?
Anthony Fullard West Powelton is one of the lead developers, we’re partners here, we put together a collage of different companies that bring the expertise that is needed in order to do a development, all development. And also developers. That’s how they build projects. They bring different team players to their consortium in order to make this development happen.
So again, Columbus Construction brings the expertise of historical restoration, they have done a number of historical restoration projects, we bring the engineering team together, who was pieced in the hood, who was the structural engineer, who was who was right now, ramping up the government side and begin to test the structure and the viability of the building for the interior structure and also the exterior structure.
We also have contracted with Eustace Engineering to also bring additional engineering components that we need in order to assess the building, and to see, you know, what type of condition this building is in and also again CICADA, as well brings the other engineering partners and their expertise and and I believe is A & E — just correct me if I’m wrong — but they’re another historical architectural consultant that that we bring to give us the information of how to restore and to go forward with the preservation of rehabbing the structure. And that’s how we get it done.
Cindy Bass Thank you, Anthony. The next question, Who chose the developer, and what were the determining factors in choosing the developer? So I know there’s been a lot of speculation about that. You know, I spoke in the beginning of this meeting that PIDC — the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation — is the property owner and will be selecting the developer.
But Anthony, I don’t know if you want to speak to that your involvement with them, your interaction with them, your conversations with them anything you want to share regarding working with them to develop this project?
Anthony Fullard Yes, we actually, there is no selection of a developer at this point, we had inquired with the managing directors office about this building, way back when and then they gave us the steps of what we needed to physically move code. They gave us the steps for this in order to go and what direction to go in order to inquire about how do we go about trying to do the development or be or be involved in this development or as relates to our and quantities. And so as we pursue that inquiry PIDC gave us what the steps and what the requirements were.
And first and foremost, that there has to be a deposit of money that comes out of our pocket and out of our investors pocket in order to even begin the process. And so we had to fill out an application and we had to first be approved, we had to have the proper insurance says in order to go in and out of the building. And then we had to agree to a timeline of coming up with a feasibility study and a market rate study. What we could come up with to proposal for for them or for us to even be considered to go to the next step.
So it’s a process is not a it isn’t a handpick process it is, you know, you have to go and you have to inquire and then and then you have to do your due diligence to see you know, if you want to go through those steps in order to be considered to develop the building.
Cindy Bass What is the overall funding structure for this project? Is it public funds, private funds, will tax abatements be involved, etc?
Anthony Fullard To answer that — well, I think the funding structure has not been ascertained at this point. But yes, we will definitely be going after public funds. We have private fund interests that are waiting in the wings to see what are the fat findings in the feasibilities and the market studies that they are looking at some of the preliminary information right now to see if we can attract private funds, and we would definitely be going to see if there’s any tax abatement and the only tax abatement probably would be is could be the historical tax credits. And then also, it could be other state credits that that we possibly could get. But of course, but of course, all of that would have to shake out in the pro forma that we would have to put together.
Cindy Bass What percentage and number of residential units in this project will be designated as low income housing? Not asking how many units are designated as affordable housing, which has a clear and specific definition. So I think the question here is exactly how many are going to be low income.
Anthony Fullard Well, what we will say and what we are confident is that we’re bringing in a a partner that will handle the affordable and low income vouchers that this partner handles affordability and low income they have a waiting list and we was very happy that they wanted to join up and also partner with us. And we are happy to say that we probably can produce about 50% of affordable and low income housing, if all goes well and if we are selected we are slated about 50% of that will be targeted for affordable and low income.
Cindy Bass What was the purchase price? You want to address that — the question is what was the purchase price for the property?
Anthony Fullard No, we don’t we don’t have no purchase price yet. We just had to put a deposit down out this, for what, from what we understand is refundable if we’re not selected. But I mean, but you know, that just gives us the opportunity to go in and out of the building. And to put the put together our plan of what we would want to propose, but there’s no purchase price from or to the city at this time.
Cindy Bass Will the police station be moving to accommodate the developers plans? If so, to where? And what provisions are being made for the police vehicles if the station is not moving?
Anthony Fullard Well, yeah, you know, that is a part of our talks, there are options that we’re dealing with, with the police station, one of the option is to include the police station into our scheme of the development scheme within the Town Hall, if that’s possible. Our second plan is to work with the police station for for relocation of the police station of a more better location and also larger location, and we would, you know, be happy to assist and to work with them. And then the third option, which is always, you know, the last is that the, you know, to work around the police station, with the development and with the police station, we mainly in its present location, which you know, just doesn’t seem feasible for them or for the development.
Cindy Bass Okay, the next question is, Will the building include parking and green spaces for the tenants?
Anthony Fullard Yes, the building, if you’re talking about? Well, let’s talk about there’s two phases, if we just go with phase one, phase one would be just the Town Hall. Being a rehab and, and we’re able to go all in, the thing is that we just preliminary laid out in front of you, in that, you know, the vision that we set in the presentation there, then the Town Hall by itself, we would just have the parking at, which you see where the police and the patrol cars are parked at right now.
Where you see the police parking at right now that actually like three quarters, or probably 7/8 of that lot is about you know, you know, that is the footprint of the Town Hall. The police just use it because, you know, the Town Hall is not operating but that parking lot belongs to the Town Hall site. So we wouldn’t be utilizing that space, if it was just a Town Hall.
Now, if we have the apartment building added, we would look at probably doing a podium build and a podium build means that we would build that on a structural column and beam structure where the building will sit on top of that and it will be like a little garage underneath that will give us even more adequate more parking for the foot for that space in order to accommodate additional parking there as well. And then of course, if we was able to relocate the police building then we could do even more parking we I think that CICADA had even did a quick parking space count if we did a podium build and if we was able to do the maximum development we could look at about 120 spaces there for parking
Cindy Bass Will the builders use non toxic building materials, energy-saving heating and electric?
Anthony Fullard There will be no toxic materials whatsoever, by law and by the materials that we are required to use it to build with. And then we are looking to construct an ENERGY STAR building which which is a energy efficient building. You know, via the HVAC and electrical and plumbing of however we can conserve energy, so to keep the cost to the end user down. We aren’t trying to make PECO and the gas company any more money than they already have.
Cindy Bass What benefits property tax abatements, etc? Is the developer receiving from this deal? What benefits is the community receiving from this development?
Anthony Fullard Well, at this time from our calculations that, that we, we don’t know what kind of abatements that we could retrieve from the, from this type of build. And so, so I don’t I don’t have the answer to that. But the benefit to the community will be again, as you know, we are looking to ensure that there’s event space community space, virtual access to the community services without having to travel to the to City Hall is one of the components that we really want to bring, that’s one of the things that stuck out in our minds. And did as we talked to some of our other supporters, as they were talking to us about this building.
And some of the earlier visions was to, you know, put something together that that could be more of a virtual access to some of the services that our residents in the in the Northwest part of the city, that utilize and don’t always have to go downtown for some of the common services that they need to get, or some of the common information that that they need to get from City Hall, it just doesn’t make sense that we live in a technology world that people should be able to, you know, pretty much walking distance to like a City Hall or Information Center, like the Town Hall could present for them to get their important information and don’t have to go down and, you know, worry about parking and worrying about you know, how to get to and from, to their home from City Hall.
So those are some of the features that we want to work hard on and in making the Town Hall more of a community service location to the residents.
Cindy Bass Okay. The next question is, Why does development of apartments precede the development of the Town Hall?
Anthony Fullard Well, the Town Hall, you know, you I mean, we want to be able to utilize the Town Hall for services and events space, but you got to be realistic that there’s a cost associated with constructing and building this structure, there’s going to be utility costs, there’s going to be a things of upkeep in to keep a structure like this and bringing it first back to life, but then we will have a debt service that would have to be serviced, we would have to be able to pay people in order to manage it and to also to have the upkeep and things of that nature. So you have to have some way to be able to bring in resources, financial resources in order to keep this structure a viable and also a long-standing structure for you, for you to come in a community.
Cindy Bass Will this development project assure construction and permanent operations jobs to local residents?
Anthony Fullard Yeah, the development will provide jobs, contracts to contractors and permanent jobs and procurement opportunities for all local residents. So of course, definitely development of the construction of the rehab of the you know, which is the first phase of the rehab, they would definitely be opportunities, they would definitely be job opportunities for local residents that that I’m sure will come from the Councilwoman’s office, the state reps office, the state senators office, and then also for the community that we will work with, and those local RCO that we will be talking to, but we don’t stop there.
We will also look for those contractors, those local contractors that are from the community that are looking for contracts to actually do contracting work on this construction job as well. And then also, you know, if all goes well, and we’re doing well, and it’s a successful development project, then we will be also procuring goods and services in order to keep that building up and to buy things that that that destruction is going to need in order to operate.
So there will be procurement opportunities for different businesses to provide those goods and services that will be needed. And we will be looking to also do that with food and be able to make those purchases from those local businesses and local residents as well.
Cindy Bass Question 13 is, Will the apartment projects include 10%, affordable housing units?
Anthony Fullard 50% affordable and 50% market rate.
Cindy Bass Could the historic building house something other than apartments? Germantown is inundated with new apartment buildings.
Anthony Fullard Well, the historical building in our plan will be a mixed-use building which means it is going to be a restaurant is what we think that we can do there, a roof deck, office space, community space, event space, Airbnb space, community virtual services, tourists visiting space, to the bell tower, etc.
So it’s just not just a residential space that that that we are looking to do. But we’re looking to be convert this awesome structure into a mixed-use type of building.
Cindy Bass We have little family entertainment in the neighborhood. I would like to see the Town Hall used as a family entertainment center, batting and golf cages, arcade, small movie theaters, etc. There wasn’t a question, but I’m just assuming that they wanted to know your thoughts on that.
Anthony Fullard We will always be looking at ways to have family neighborhood entertainment. So we would definitely be open and looking for you know, you know, that kind of forward-thinking and see how we can incorporate we want the family to to want to come to the Town Hall, a day in and day out. So we would definitely be looking for that kind of conversation of how we get that done.
Cindy Bass Number 16, I think has really been answered in the presentation. The question is, Where is the 39 unit apartment building going to be built with a police station directly behind Town Hall? And in your presentation, there was a diagram of what the layout was going to be. So I’m assuming that answers that question, but if you want to elaborate on that at all, yeah,
Anthony Fullard Yeah, and I just answered it in another question and said that there was three options as relates to the police station, that we would try to as we as we rehab and bring the Town Hall back up to a mixed use type of building we would see no see option to see if the police station could be made a part of that vision to have them operate within the Town Hall or either find them a new location and you know, within a proximity that makes sense for them, because it is a small police station is very antiquated. And then you know, and then also the see at you know, you know, our last resort to see how we could coexist with them with the new development and I said that it will be a podium build. So that you know, so you know, so that there will be adequate parking for everybody,
Cindy Bass Will police services be disrupted during construction?
Anthony Fullard No, by no means would, I’m sure that we would have to coordinate with the police station and their services and their egress IN and OUT 24 hours a day. And as if we would have to do with, you know, doing construction on Germantown Avenue with the buses or the trolley cars and things of that nature. We would be you know, operating, you know, under the direction of, you know, how do we keep that egress for their operations and for them to go in and out 24 hours a day.
Cindy Bass What is your setback off the backyards along the houses facing Harvey Street?
Anthony Fullard I don’t I don’t know if you guys see that, but I don’t see this impacting Harvey Street at all. Harvey Street is what is that? That’s the one that’s going.
Cindy Bass Maybe they meant Haines Street? It says Harvey street, but maybe they meant Haines?
Anthony Fullard Yeah, yeah. So I think there is a setback. And I want to say about what five feet off the curb? Or maybe eight feet off of Haines Street, Darren?
Darren Edwards On the first floor, we’re aligning with the, the face of the Town Hall along Haines Street. And then the upper floors we do step out in this proposal.
Anthony Fullard Okay. And that’s about what? So that’s about what, three feet off the curb? That might be about eight feet off the curb? On the face of the building of the existing building, right?
Darren Edwards Kwaku, do you know that?
Nana B’nry Uhhh… not off the top of my head…
Anthony Fullard Well, we’ll get back to that. I mean, it’s between six to eight feet off of the curb. Wherever the line of the existing building is, is where the new structure would be in on that same line? It would not encroach onto the curb. It wouldn’t go right to the side of the street, if that’s what they are asking. But they say in back yard.
Cindy Bass Yeah, the question is a little confusing. Yeah. So But whoever submitted the question, if you are on, we would ask that you would resubmit that. The next question, What is your contingency to make sure there is no hazardous material spilled on the ground from the fuel tank servicing the police station?
Anthony Fullard Well, I mean, to remove the police stations, you know, if we was demoing it, police station, all of that will be handled by remediation of soil and the tank and will be removed per the procedures and soil testing of engineering firms, the geotech environmental firms that we would contract to.
All of that — any construction, even existing construction, sometimes, to a structure like this — they may require testings of all soil to show that there’s no carcinogens and all that kind of stuff that have went down deep into the soils. But that’s a requirement for us, before any construction can happen, that’s a requirement to go through building permits and all the things that you would need in order to get through your submissions through L&I. And the streets and the water department, etc.
Cindy Bass Will this project be union labor?
Anthony Fullard This project would probably fall under the Prevailing Wage Guidelines, which is comparable to union wages.
Cindy Bass Which local contractors from the 19144 zip code are you hiring?
Anthony Fullard Again, we will be reaching out to the Councilwoman’s office for local contractors that they have on their list. We will be reaching out to the RCO’s, we’ll be reaching out to the state rep’s office, we’ll be reaching out to the state senators office that fall into those zip codes to ensure that we have those local contractors that are ready and willing and able to work on a project of this size.
And even if they’re not, you know, able to do any large capacity work, we will be able to sit down with them and work them in some way somehow, in order for them to be a part of this project.
Cindy Bass Can we see revenue projections from the 39 unit rental property that showed the income needed to also properly restore the Town Hall? Is this “thoughtful gentrification”?
Anthony Fullard Well, I don’t know about gentrification, because I’m still able to live here. So it was gentrification, I would have to move. But the thing is, is that is like the next steps. As we move forward through our PIDC process, if we are so chosen to be the developing team, not Anthony Fullard, West Powelton solely by themselves, as you know, as this minority, local black firm, no, no, would not be undertaking this huge project. He has a team.
And, we are trying to attract those dollars to this project, in order for us to be a part of this development, in order for this to happen. Once those are selected, and we can begin to be confident that we have been given the green light to go to the next step with PIDC as the chosen developer, then yes, we will be able to divulge more information, we’ll be able to do more PowerPoint presentations, we’d be able to talk about the rentals, price points and all those types of things. But right now, you know, everything is just projectable based on what we think that, you know, would make sense for us to present to PIDC.
Cindy Bass I think that was a last question, although I did get a question in that I’m going to read as it was presented:
I’m very concerned about the competence to do the job. By now, after a year, Fullard should have some estimate of the cost to rehab Town Hall. Could you please ask him to answer that question? How much will Town Hall costs to rehab? He cannot seek financing, tax credit, or public financing without knowing the costs.
So I don’t know if you want to answer that one.
Anthony Fullard We have projections, okay. Now this is just the only the interior and some of the exterior, so we are around between $10 to $12 million, of what we what we are projecting but again, we’re still going through our engineering research and, once we get that information back, then we ca begin to drill down on the cost that we would need. But if they’re looking for a projectable number, I mean, we easily ran a 10 to $12 million number.
Cindy Bass And you know what, and I do want to go back and just clarify the question, because I’m rereading it now with my glasses, it sounds as if that wasn’t directed necessarily to you, but to whoever is doing the job — there was a concern about that, you know, they would have the capability to do the job.
Anthony Fullard I mean, that’s a valid question I mean, it is a very complex project it is nothing that you want to you know, just you know, run in and out of there, you know, I mean, it is a very detailed, tedious and also complex project.
Cindy Bass Okay, very good. Thank you for your answers. And that being said that those are all the questions that were submitted. And coincidentally, we’re exactly at the end of our ZOOM. So we started on time, we ended on time. And I want to thank Anthony Fullard for answering all the questions. Again, for all those who are on the call, Anthony did commit to coming back in March, and answering any additional questions you may have. And so, you know, we are thankful for that.
And we will follow up, as I had mentioned earlier, for anyone who missed part of it, or if someone you know, was trying to get on and could not because the meeting was at capacity, we want to make sure that they know that the meeting will be posted, we’ll put we’ll post a link because it was recorded so that everybody can see this meeting, and all the questions and the sake of transparency. And also, we’re gonna post all the questions online on social media, you can go to my social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @CindyBassPhilly, all one word, and you will be able to get a link probably by Wednesday.
So give us just a day or two, so that we can get that up for you. And if there’s any additional questions, again, feel free to reach out to our office. And we will get them to Mr. Fullard or if you get them to us by the close of business tomorrow, so that they can be included in the list.
That being said, I really want to thank everybody for being here tonight. I’m looking forward to the next meeting already to get additional details and to hear the questions from the community and, you know, listen, working together, we can accomplish all things, I am sure.
So thank you, Anthony and your team. Thank you to everyone from the community. And we will see you again in March on this subject. Thanks, everyone. Have a great night.
Councilmember Cindy Bass
City Hall, Room 508
District Office: 4439A Germantown Ave