Pulse: Real Estate: Boom or Bust?

The state of Center City’s high-rise real estate

What seemed a hard sell before the economy tanked — scads of soaring new Center City condos, all luxe, all with sky-scraping prices — appears downright absurd in Philly’s post-crash reality. Experts, though, remain sunny. "There’s still enough demand relative to the amount of units," insists Wharton economist Kevin Gillen — especially in the long run. Good news, sure — though for the time being, it might be a little lonely at the top. Here, the current condo rundown.

THE BUILDING: The Murano, 2101 Market Street
TAGLINE: “Experience the height of modern living.”
THE NUMBERS: $165 million project; 42 stories; from $400,000 (1 BR) to $2 million-plus (penthouse).
THE BACKERS: Thomas Property Group and P&A Associates (who also did the St. James). Opened in June 2008. Rumor had it going rental, but brass says rentals are owner sublets.
SELLING POINTS: Floor-to-ceiling windows; relatively lower price points (perhaps thanks to location on Market, just down from the Forum adult theater?); private balconies; sundeck, spa, 60-foot lap pool, massage room, bamboo flooring.
INVENTORY: Total units: 302; Unsold units: 90

THE BUILDING: Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, 1414 S. Penn Square
TAGLINE: “Luxury Redefined.”
THE NUMBERS: $330 million project; 48 stories; from $562,350 (1 BR) to $12 million (penthouse).
THE BACKERS: The Arden Group (whose other high-end hotels and residences are scattered about the country). Opened in December 2008.
SELLING POINTS: Concierge and private chef services; floor-to-ceiling glass windows; babysitting and pet-walking services; residents-only park and garden; Eric Ripert’s 10 Arts next door; saying you live at the Ritz.
INVENTORY: Total units: 270; Unsold units: 108

THE BUILDING: Residences at Two Liberty Place, 50 S. 16th Street
TAGLINE: “It’s different up here.”
THE NUMBERS: 57 stories (see below); from $795,000 (1 BR) to $15 million (penthouse).
THE BACKERS: Art Falcone of the Falcone Group, a developer new to Philly. Opened in March 2008. Units are in the top 20 of Two Liberty Place’s 57 stories.
SELLING POINTS: Touchscreens let you order a dog-grooming at the in-house pet spa, or get picked up in a chauffeured town car; Daniel Stern’s Rae will move into the 37th floor by fall 2009; you share an address with the likes of Richie Sambora, Tom Knox and Cole Hamels.
INVENTORY: Total units: 102; Unsold units: 30

THE BUILDING: 1
706 Rittenhouse Square, 1706 Rittenhouse Square
TAGLINE: “Only one.”
THE NUMBERS: $145 million project; 31 stories; from $4 million (full-floor units) to $12.5 million (penthouse, which just sold).
THE BACKERS: The Parkway Corp. and Scannapieco Development Corp. Designed by Cope Linder, the architecture firm behind the Borgata’s new Water Club in A.C. Set to open in spring 2010.
SELLING POINTS: 1 block from the Square, 1 residence per floor; automated parking system brings your car around without a human ever touching it. Plus, Joanne Hudson-designed kitchens, floor-to-ceiling windows, private garden, fitness center and on-call massage.
INVENTORY: Total units: 31; Unsold units: about 15

THE BUILDING: Symphony House, 440 S. Broad Street
TAGLINE: “Luxury living on the Avenue of the Arts.”
THE NUMBERS: $125 million building; 32 stories; from $600,000 (1 BR) to $4 million (penthouses, both sold).
THE BACKERS: Carl Dranoff and Dranoff Properties. Opened June 2007. The Inky’s architecture critic slammed the structure’s pink-tinted edifice — but inside, the residences are almost all sold.
SELLING POINTS: Glamorous location on the Avenue of the Arts; Du Jour Market and the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Suzanne Roberts Theatre downstairs; standards like a spa and pool, and not-so-standards like a wine room with private wine lockers.
INVENTORY: Total units: 163; Unsold units: about 15

THE BUILDING: 10 Rittenhouse Square, 10 Rittenhouse Square
TAGLINE: “Philadelphia’s Ultimate Address.”
THE NUMBERS: $250 million project; 33 stories; from $714,000 (1 BR) to $4.5 million (3 BR).
THE BACKERS:
ARCWheeler. Designed by Robert A.M. Stern (the brains behind the Comcast Center). Set to open in fall 2009.
SELLING POINTS: Besides that address? Miele and Sub-Zero appliances; marble baths; a concierge; garden terrace; indoor pool; plus a not-yet-announced signature restaurant and a — wow! — Barneys Co-op scheduled to open in April 2009.
INVENTORY: Total units: 140; Unsold units: 60

THE BUILDING:
The Waldorf-Astoria, 1441 Chestnut Street
TAGLINE: “Living. Legend.”
THE NUMBERS: $420 million hotel/condo project; 58 stories; from $1 million (1 BR) to $15 million (penthouse).
THE BACKERS: Owners are Tim Mahoney and Brook Lenfest. Developed by Mariner Commercial Properties and Gatehouse Capital. Breaks ground in January 2010; opens in spring 2012.
SELLING POINTS: Super eco-friendly (LEED-certified); access to hotel amenities and services; indoor pool; in-house spa, restaurant and retail space (specifics yet to be named); the highest walk-out terraces in the city; 8 custom homes with private elevators.
INVENTORY: Total units: 136; Unsold units: 136 — the sale center opens this month.

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  • John

    SEC Filing – November 10, 2008 -
    Condominium sales – percentage of completion. This caption represents the revenue recognized on the percentage of completion method of accounting of the Murano condominium units and parking spaces which closed or were under a binding sales contract as of September 30, 2008. As of September 30, 2008, we had closed the sale of 101 units and 94 parking spaces and had an additional 24 units and 28 parking spaces under contract of sale, for which we recognized revenue of $80 million. Prior to the quarter ended June 30, 2008, we accounted for units and parking spaces under contract of sale based on the deposit method of accounting.

    http://biz.yahoo.com/e/081110/tpgi10-q.html

    Philadelphia Magazine – December 2008 -
    THE BUILDING: The Murano, 2101 Market Street
    INVENTORY: Total units: 302; Unsold units: 90

    Conclusion -
    Claim as of October 2008 in SEC Filing = 101 Sold + 24 "Under Contract" = 125 Units
    Claim as of December 2008 in Philly Magazine =

  • John

    Claim as of October 2008 in SEC Filing = 101 Sold + 24 "Under Contract" = 125 Units

    Claim as of December 2008 in Philly Magazine = 212 Sold Units

    Claim Sold from October to December 2008 = Sold 87 Units in ~2 Months = 40+/Month?

  • John
  • alona

    this a start of another housing boom.
    houses for sale Golders Green