Last week Whitemarsh Township sent out the agenda for a September 28th meeting of its planning commission. On the agenda is a proposal to construct a 598-unit apartment community along the riverfront on two adjacent properties that straddle the border between Whitemarsh Township and the Borough of Conshohocken.
From the agenda:
The agenda item is ZHB #2021-43, applications of KRE Acquisition Corp. for property located at 401 & 433 Washington Street. The Applicant proposes to construct a 598-unit residential apartment complex in four buildings on these two properties; the combined tract is located in both the Borough of Conshohocken and Whitemarsh Township, with the vast majority of proposed units in the Borough. All of the road frontage is in the Borough, though the majority of the riverfront area is in Whitemarsh (see the plans enclosed). The entire project site is approximately 11.2 acres in size. The 401 & 433 Washington Street properties are approximately 5.48 acres and 5.69 acres.
The property was previously owned by O’Neill Properties (or a connected LLC), which obtained approvals in both municipalities for a similar plan between 2013 and 2015. Those approvals have now expired, so this new application starts the process over again.
According to the current application submitted to Whitemarsh Township, the proposal is only notably different in three ways from the one that was previously approved (at least how it pertains to the Whitemarsh portion of the property). The first is a reduction in the number of units that fall within Whitemarsh. The second is an update in the stormwater management facilities from 2015 standards. Finally, there will be a more prominent promenade through the center of the property offering public riverfront access.
One important thing to note, that at least on the Whitemarsh side of the property, apartments are a by-right use. There is not a question as to whether apartments can be built. The application seeks two special exceptions, three variances, and three interpretations of the zoning code (and variances if that interpretation results in a variance being needed). You can find the specifics and view the entire application here.
Note that the planning commission only provides a recommendation to the zoning hearing board, which will render a decision on the application.
Please note that this proposal has not yet been part of any released agendas in the Borough of Conshohocken. We will do a follow-up article once that occurs.
There are currently two apartment communities under construction along the riverfront in Conshohocken and a third preparing to break ground.
LCOR is constructing a 304-unit apartment community at 51 Washington and High Street Residential is building a 280-unit Matson Mill apartment community at 101 Washington Street. Equus recently received approval for a 13-story building with 352 units at 400 West Elm Street.
If the proposal for 401-433 is approved it will result in the possibility of up to 1,534 new apartments in the Conshohocken zipcode.
The planning commission meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 28th at 7:00 p.m. at the Whitemarsh Township building at 616 Germantown Pike in Lafayette Hill. The item has not yet appeared on any released agendas for the zoning hearing board.
Photo: Rendering from KRE Acquisitions