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Northern Liberties-based developer Onion Flats is known for bold design with sharp corners and cutting-edge materials. The company hopes that translates to its biggest project, the Ridge, on Kelly Drive and Ridge Avenue.

The firm was chosen last week to develop the Rivage site after years of stalled projects there, thanks in part to large community support. The plan for 126 residential apartments over first-floor retail will be zero-net energy — meaning energy for the utilities would be generated on site.

“For us, this is an important project in a lot of ways,” said Tim McDonald, president of the development/design/construction firm known for the Rag Flats and Thin Flats. “The one really important dimension is [that] what we’re trying to do is demonstrate this can be the standard way of designing and building for all buildings.”

Considered the gateway to East Falls at the foot of the Falls Bridge, the project will feature outdoor gardens and a public terrace to entice pedestrians. McDonald said construction could start in early 2013 and be completed in early 2014 with an estimated cost of $25 million.

‘Wow’ factor for Rivage

Residents are eager for the development, which many rated “cool.”

“We thought it was a strong proposal, and it has its added ‘wow’ factor to it,” said Gina Snyder, executive director of the East Falls Development Corp. “It’s an exciting project.”

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