“Hiiiiii,” Heidi Hamels says in a kittenish singsong, opening the door to her sun-splashed apartment on the 44th floor of Two Liberty Place as her fluffy white Maltese teacup attempts to wriggle free from under her right arm. “So nice to see you again. Come in, come in.”
We met — briefly — in the elevator last week, during my third day living in the city’s most high-profile condo building. Crafted from the template of all pro athletes’ wives, Heidi is young and pretty and delicate and, of course, blond. She wears a frilly peasant top and jeans, and even though she pads barefoot across the highly burnished wood floors of the sprawling three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath condo she shares with her husband, Phillies ace pitcher Cole, her steps still manage to echo slightly throughout the space. It’s that big. Like, airplane-hangar big.
Cole leaps up from the massive overstuffed beige sectional that anchors the living room and waves me in, emitting, even in a casual t-shirt, jeans and sneakers, the slouchy elegance that separates star athletes from mere jocks. Heidi is, of course, a celebrity in her own right, or at least in the right of what passes for stardom in the age of Us Weekly; she was a finalist on the sixth season of the reality show Survivor, where she famously doffed her clothes during one challenge in exchange for some peanut butter and Oreos. It is this combined star power that has made Cole and Heidi the Prince Philip and Princess Aurora of the Residences at Two Liberty Place, the castle in the sky at 16th and Chestnut.
I haven’t been sitting more than three minutes when I begin to feel like I’ve tumbled through the looking glass — or at least the flat-screen — into an infomercial. I suspect Cole and Heidi do this sort of thing a lot, getting paraded out for journalists, prospective buyers, general glommers-on. Cole is especially good, his sales pitch as razor-sharp as his fastball. The message conveyed is simple, if not directly stated: Two Liberty is the condominium building for the Beautiful People. And, more importantly, the people who aspire to be Beautiful.
Last winter, a week after Heidi and Cole decided to leave their West Chester townhouse for city living, Cole’s agent, John Boggs, called Heidi and said, “I know a great place, and they’re looking for people like you.” When they saw Two Liberty, “It just took our breath away,” Cole tells me. “So we were like, ‘We don’t need to see anything else. This is exactly what we need and what we want.’ Every day, to wake up to this view, it’s absolutely amazing.”
Cue Heidi nodding. “I mean, they just make it so easy to live here.”
Back to you, Cole. “Moving into an area like this, we don’t know every little hot spot to go to, and just having a concierge at our fingertips, calling them up and — boom! — we have an itinerary of where to go. You know, this really brings seeing Philadelphia, experiencing Philadelphia, to a different level.” And so it goes, the Hamelses gushing like they’re shilling the ShamWow.