The Philadelphia charter high school backed by the city’s electrical workers’ union has abandoned its plan for a new building on the South Kensington lot where apartments with coworking offices for local entrepreneurs had been planned.
Philadelphia Electrical and Technology Charter High School (PETCHS) “is no longer pursuing” the proposal for a $21.1 million classroom building at 1525 N. American St., school chief executive Erin Dougherty said in an email.
A six-story residential building is instead being planned at the property, according to the Department of Licenses and Inspections.
PETCHS was founded in 2002 by John J. “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, business manager of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Erin Dougherty, John Dougherty’s daughter; and Michael Neill, director of Local 98′s apprentice training program.
The school currently occupies the upper stories of 1420 Chestnut St., a historic Center City office building. It was approved in July for a loan of up to $22 million through the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development (PAID) to finance the proposed new building near the corner of American and Oxford Streets.
The new school was slated to be a 60,000-square-foot building with about 40 classrooms, as well as “a broadcast lab, green space, one or more multimedia rooms, a life skills center, a café, and parking," according to PAID’s agenda.
The property is owned by a business founded by the late developer Sean Schellenger in partnership with property investor Sean Frankel.
Schellenger and Frankel once proposed an apartment building at the site with free ground-floor coworking space for nearby residents to start new businesses, a project they named “Techadelphia."
The current proposal calls for a building with 110 apartment or condo units and ground-floor commercial space, according to L&I, which issued a zoning permit for the project this month.
It was not immediately clear whether the new project was being proposed by Frankel or another developer who has the land under contract. Frankel did not respond to an email.
Rustin Ohler of the firm Harman Deutsch Ohler Architecture, who filed for the zoning permit, did not respond to a phone call.
Erin Dougherty said PETCHS was not affiliated with the proposal. She did not respond to a followup email asking whether the school still planned to relocate from its Center City home.
The school’s lease at the building runs until July of next year, said Adriano Calvanese, a vice president overseeing commercial leasing for landlord PMC Property Group.