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Final zoning approval for $140 million project

A $140 million Philadelphia commercial real estate project that incorporates both a Whole Foods market and a large residential development has received final zoning approval. The development, called Rodin Square, will take the place of an existing Best Western hotel located in the Logan Square area of Philadelphia. The project is named after its developer Neal Rodin, who is the chair of International Financial Co. L.L.C.

There will be 293 residential units described as high-end. Groundbreaking is expected to commence sometime in the first two months of 2014, and it is expected to take approximately two years for the building to be finished. The Whole Foods store will replace an existing one at Callowhill and 20th Streets that would then close down. The new location will give Whole Foods approximately twice the space of its existing store, allowing it to open a 5,000 square-foot cafe, and providing it with 55,00 square feet of space for retail operations.

The project will fill most of the entire block, bounded by Hamilton Street and Pennsylvania Avenue on the south, Spring Garden Street on the northern boundary, and 22nd and 21st Streets on the west and east. Prior to zoning approval for the project, there had been some concerns raised by local community groups about the collateral impact of the new building on congestion and traffic patterns in the neighborhood.

Opposition was dropped, however, after developers signed an agreement that a dedicated driveway, including two lanes, would be constructed on the east/west side of the building to provide special accommodation for store customers as well as food deliveries, alleviating the possibility of on street traffic congestion.

Other retail space in the building will be on Pennsylvania Avenue and Spring Garden Street. There will also be parking for Whole Foods patrons underground, as well as five stories of parking for residents in the nine story apartment structure.

Concerns about traffic congestion and parking availability are frequent sticking points when it comes to gaining zoning approval of new projects. Experienced zoning lawyers are able to assist in shepherding such projects successfully through the approval process.

Source: Philly.com, "Large Logan Square project approved" Jennifer Lin, Oct. 11, 2013

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