Nave Newell recently secured preliminary approval from Whitemarsh Township for 62 townhomes at 901 Washington Street in Conshohocken. A partnership between E. Kahn Development, Vesey Capital, and Gary Toll is developing the 5-acre riverfront site. The new residential community, RIVERplace, will be built by Progressive New Homes.
The development will include 62 townhomes, associated parking and circulation, an extension of Washington Street to provide appropriate access, and a riverfront trail with scenic overlooks that will be open to the public. It is the former home of a paint company, and the last manufacturing site left along the Schuylkill River in Conshohocken.
From Office to Townhomes
Nave Newell previously worked with the development team back in 2014 on this site to create a state-of-the-art, office complex. The two-story, 82,000 sf building was designed to feature high ceilings, modern design, and river views. The team made the decision to pivot to townhomes to better appeal to market changes and demand.
Located adjacent to the Spring Mill Regional Rail station and the Schuylkill River Trail, it is ideally located in a rapidly evolving transit-oriented neighborhood. When there was a lack of interest in the office building, it made sense for the developers to create housing for those looking to shift from renting to buying in the area. The new townhomes will range from the mid-$400,000 to $600,000 and will have riverfront views, rooftop decks and garages.
Challenging Approval Process
As a brownfield site along a river, we faced many challenges throughout the land development approval process. For instance, the project required zoning approval for numerous variances. When the use changed from office to residential, a significant part of the project had to be redesigned and our planners and engineers had to overcome the same issues.
Civil engineering design included:
- Ensuring appropriate access with the extension and reconstruction of Washington Street
- Coordination of evacuation plans
- A new on-site pump station
- 1,000’ of off-site sewer upgrades
- Coordination with SEPTA
- Complicated NPDES process and an individual NPDES permit from DEP
- Creative stormwater management design with rain gardens for approval from DEP to discharge into the Schuylkill River for this non-infiltrating site located within a floodplain.
Working closely with DEP, Township officials, and the developer, Nave Newell is progressing toward final approvals. Our floodplain expert, Paige Maz, PE, also worked with FEMA to change the Schuylkill River floodway delineation. Without moving the floodway line, we wouldn’t have been able to develop the site.
Fun fact: Paige modeled the Schuylkill River, and when the big storm hit last year, what we saw in the field, matched exactly what she modeled.
In the News
For more on the project, check out the Philadelphia Business Journal’s article: New $28M townhouse project to rise along Conshohocken riverfront – Philadelphia Business Journal (bizjournals.com)