That's Rather Hideous: The Strange Saga of HVAC Units and 'Faux-Vegetative Barriers"

James Jennings

Rendering of Sanctuary Lofts via Barzilay Development (L), Reader Photo (R)
Neighbors of the soon-to-be-open Sanctuary Lofts project at Grays Ferry Avenue and Fitzwater Street are concerned over the installation of seven large HVAC units atop the entrance of the former Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. Plans call for 30 lofts and 8 traditional apartments but left out any details of the future placements of air conditioning units. A reader notified us of this issue and raised concerns that the units would be unsightly and also loud, saying "these things are disgustingly large and obtrusive, and will inevitably lead to noise once they are put in use." So what is being done about the units?

Apparently, neighbors have been in touch with Councilman Kenyatta Johnson's office, who found out the installation was permanent and that Barzilay Development intends to install a "faux-vegetative barrier" around the units. Barzilay Development sent us a rendering of what that might look like in the near future:
Rendering via Barzilay Development


Naked Philly had this to say:

One might think that these units are only there temporarily, waiting to be moved to a less conspicuous rooftop location ... In a city where you have to set back the front of your roof deck eight feet, it seems odd that this is allowed.

As we have previously reported, Barzilay Development has been pre-leasing the apartments and was hoping to have the entire project completed by September 15th.
Do future residents know about the plans for the large HVAC units or the fake green barrier above the main entrance? Clearly, neighbors don't seem too pleased with the prospects of noise and an out-of-place screen. Aside from general noise and some trash, the reader said that construction on the former church was going smoothly. That is, of course, until this most recent development. Barzilay Development told us in an email that the installation of the HVAC units is one of many phases to get done before the lofts are open.

The South of South Neighborhood Association is apparently looking into the situation, so we'll keep you posted.
· Prayers Answered? Sanctuary Lofts are Available in G-Ho [Curbed Philly]
· Seriously, Sanctuary Lofts? [Naked Philly]