Though a sign for Little House on the Hill is still up, the property at 8100 Germantown Ave. has been vacant for nearly two years. (Photo by Brendan Sample)

by Brendan Sample

Though it has remained unoccupied since August of 2017, the property at 8100 Germantown Ave. may finally be giving way to something new. The developer group BuildED has plans to demolish the current building, which had been the home of the former Little House on the Hill daycare for over 30 years, and construct a multi-unit housing structure.

The main developer and architect for the project, Mark Greenberg and Theresa Aldamlouji, respectively, presented their designs for the new building at the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s Land Use, Planning and Zoning committee meeting on May 2.

The proposed project is for a four-story building with three units, two of which would be residential. The first floor would be used commercially, the second floor would be a single-floor flat and the third and fourth would be a bi-level residential unit.

There is no interest in expanding beyond the borders of the specific property to take up any additional horizontal space, though a curb cut will be necessary for the building. Although many details have been worked out to this point, the developer admitted that this is still a work in progress, but that he is dedicated to working it out.

“This will evolve,” Greenberg said. “Unlike other developers, I live in Chestnut Hill. I’ve lived in Chestnut Hill my entire life.”

One of the necessary conditions for approval of the project will be the neighbors’ approval of the construction. Though the developer’s attorney, Matthew Monroe, has sent out letters to neighbors, they will need to present direct proof of communication. A representative from Bowman Properties, which owns several properties around 8100 Germantown Ave., was also on hand to express the company’s approval of redeveloping the property.

The developers have been in regular contact with the LUPZ over the past several weeks, something for which the committee members expressed their gratitude at the meeting. With details of the plan still being worked out, they asked the developers to continue being responsive from now until the next meeting of the Development Review Committee on May 21. This would likely give them enough time to get on the same page before the applicants’ hearing in front of the Zoning Board of Adjustment on June 19.

There are also several other conditions the LUPZ want the developers to meet before the DRC meeting. The committee members asked the applicants to further address concerns over trees that could be lost in the construction, study uphill elevation for the property, provide more information about potential colors for the building and meet with the Streetscape committee. The group passed a motion to support the project if those conditions are met in time, and the committee members will also work to establish a follow-up review process for the project.

The next LUPZ meeting is set for Thursday, June 6 at 8 p.m. at the Chestnut Hill Hospital.

Brendan Sample can be reached at brendan@chestnuthilllocal.com or 215-248-8819.

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