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Zoning board approves developer’s plans to build Cheesecake Factory

2/22/2013 | Real Estate Blog

Last Wednesday, the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment approved a developer’s plans to knock down three buildings on the southeast corner of 15th and Walnut Streets and set up a glass, three-story building that would include the city’s first Cheesecake Factory restaurant. The demolition is set to begin within 30 days.

The site on which the restaurant is to be built includes a section of retail businesses. Construction on the restaurant is predicted to take around 15 months, meaning that the restaurant would be set to open fall 2014.

Zoning, as our readers know, can be a big obstacle for businesses and developers in getting projects off the ground. Even if a businesses or developer finds an ideal location and the financial wherewithal to complete a project, zoning must fall into place. There are some things that can be done, however, to make the zoning piece fall into place.

One thing that can be done is to seek support from the business community. Businesses that employ local people and which contribute positively to the local economy may find that they have extra support. City or county business development officials, the chamber of commerce, and trade and merchant associations may also come to aid.

While it is often possible to negotiate with officials through administrative appeals, knowing how to appeal an adverse ruling is critical in making a project happen when zoning is an issue. But it is important to work with an experienced attorney in doing so.

Finally, it cannot be underestimate how much strategic planning can help a project get off the ground, even amidst a certain amount of opposition. This is another area where an experienced attorney is of great help.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, “Zoning board OKs restaurant at 15th and Walnut,” February 15, 2013