Twilight Zoning

Will Starr’s Beer Garden Have Valet Parking?

Stephen Starr ponders parking
Stephen Starr ponders parking Photo: SRO

The Illadelph goes where many fear to tread - Philadelphia Speaks, formerly known as Philly Blog - and tiptoes his way through the trolls to unearth the agenda for an upcoming zoning meeting for Stephen Starr’s proposed beer garden in Fishtown. As usual, the main concerns center around noise and parking. It’s not just regular old “patrons will take up all the parking spaces” concerns - apparently Starr has plans for valet parking.

Valet parking in Fishtown? At a beer garden? Why are we surprised? It’s exactly what we’d expect from a Starr-run beer garden. Read an excerpt from the agenda email sent to neighbors with the fun parts highlighted - you can read the entire email on Philadelphia Speaks:

General:

The property under consideration for the Stephen Starr restaurant is on Frankford Ave, beginning next to the Acropolos diner (Frankford and Girard) and spans approximately 100 yards towards Frankford and Thompson.

The concept under consideration is a Bier Garten with ~250 seats. This concept would be co-development with prominent restauranteur Stephen Starr who will operate the establishment similar to his other businesses.
The property has a courtyard type space and plans include using this outdoor space.

As with all other Stephen Starr restaurants, this property would have an open kitchen until 11:00 PM and remain open for drinking/socializing until 2:00 AM.

The expected timeline includes a more formal zoning hearing towards the end of February. Notices wil be circulated as will a message on this e-mail list. ALL NEIGHBORS ARE URGED TO ATTEND. Finances and agreements are secure and the intent is to begin building ASAP after approval is granted.

Concerns:

Parking. The plan includes the use of valet parking and Roland [the developer] stated he has 70 spaces available with more on the way. Parking will be reasonably priced to be on par with what a patron would pay at a meter. Even with valet service there will undoubtedly be pressure on the immediate area for parking. Efforts are already underway for the 1200 block of Crease Street to move towards permit parking and other immediate streets (Thompson, Day, Leopard) are urged to consider this to help offset this problem. Shackamaxon already has it.

Noise. Houses on Leopard Street will likely bear the brunt of the noise from this project. Roland insisted that he has taken this into consideration and will do everything possible to mitigate noise. Leopard Street residents are strongly urged to attend the zoning hearing to have their concerns heard.

Traffic. The concern about valet parking traffic was raised. Parking attendants will need to move cars around rapidly and it is a concern that their route will take them through the immedate blocks.

All in all, it seemed that there is overwhelming support for this exciting project but there is also the expected amount of caution and concern. Please keep your eyes peeled for zoning notices posted at the property as well as circulars in mailboxes regarding the zoning hearing.

Is valet parking the answer? Will it alleviate or worsen the sensitive parking situation in the area? Would valet parking make the suburban folk who make up much of Starr’s bread and butter more likely to set foot in Fishtown? We don’t know the answers, but we sure do look forward to the day when we all get our wings and are magically able to fly so we don’t have to think about parking in relation to restaurants ever again.

Stephen Starr Bier Garden Zoning Meeting 3/2/10 7-8pm [Philadelphia Speaks via the Illadelph]

Will Starr’s Beer Garden Have Valet Parking?