New Renderings of 205 Race Street

A new rendering of 205 Race Street, courtesy of the developers

The 197-foot 205 Race Street apartment tower to be located near the Ben Franklin Bridge has a long and acrimonious history. The developers, Jeffrey Brown and Greg Hill, have owned the site (now a vacant lot) for a decade, and this is their third attempt to develop it. In 2012, a version of the tower was opposed by the (now defunct) Old City Civic Association, which argued that its scale didn’t fit the historic neighborhood.

Inga Saffron weighed in, in favor of the tower, and City Council ended up passing a bill designed to allow it to go through.

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Barnes Architects and “Skyspace” Artist to Receive National Medal of Arts

The new Barnes Foundation in Center City

Newsworks reports that President Obama will award the National Medal of Arts to Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, architects of the new Barnes Foundation (as well as Penn’s Skirkanich Hall and two dorms at Haverford College), and to James Turrell, the extraordinary light artist who recently created one of his signature “skyspaces” in Chestnut Hill, along with nine other recipients.

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UNIQLO Now Planning Four Area Stores

UNIQLOThe extremely trendy and fairly inexpensive clothing retailer UNIQLO is invading the region: first, a store opened in the King of Prussia Mall. Then stores were announced for Center City’s Chestnut Street and the Willow Grove Park Mall. Now, Shoppist reports that the Tokyo-based company is coming to South Jersey as well, to the Cherry Hill Mall:

A rep confirms that the store will open on September 26th, just a week before the October 3rd opening at 1608 Chestnut Street. It will be on the main level, sandwiched between a Bath & Body Works and an Abercrombie & Fitch. If you’re counting, this is four UNIQLO stores to open region in less than a year. World domination next? (Or maybe just Delaware.)

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New Renderings of Vine Street Mormon Tower

The proposed apartment tower, with the proposed brick meetinghouse in front of it, and the under-construction temple in the foreground.

The Mormon Church’s planned apartment tower and small meetinghouse on Vine Street is about to go through the city’s Civic Design Review process—which means we get a bunch of new project renderings, plans, and specifications.

The project, which was announced several months ago by Mayor Nutter, will fill the block-long vacant lot on the north side of Vine Street between Franklin Town Boulevard and 16th Street, right across from the site of the still-under-construction Mormon temple. It’ll include a new access road through the middle of the site between the two buildings.

The tower will rise 32 stories and 360 feet, and will house 264 apartments, 13 town homes, and plenty of residential amenities including a large outdoor terrace, wraparound retail space, and two levels of underground parking. Portions will have green roofs. The meetinghouse, to be sited between the temple and the tower, will rise two stories and house a chapel, cultural center, “baptismal font,” educational facilities, and an outdoor courtyard.

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New Tower Could Rise on Rittenhouse Square After All

A rendering of Castleway's pre-recession proposal, courtesy of Skyscraper Page

A rendering of Castleway’s pre-recession proposal, courtesy of Skyscraper Page

Irish developer Castleway Properties is again working on plans for a luxury condo tower and boutique hotel on a prominent vacant lot on Rittenhouse Square. Castleway had proposed something similar for the site in 2007, but the proposal collapsed during the recession. Then, in 2013, megadeveloper Toll Brothers showed interested in purchasing the lot, but earlier this year the sale fell through and Toll Brothers walked away.

Castleway now appears to again be moving forward on its own. According to a May Center City District report, Castleway is planning a 150-unit, 350,000-square-foot condo tower, 25,000 square feet of retail space, a 200,000-square-foot hotel, and four levels of underground parking. That sounds very similar to the pre-recession proposal, which called for a 525-foot glass tower (rendering above).

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Financing Secured for Rodin Square Apartments

A rendering of Rodin Square, courtesy of the project's developers

A rendering of Rodin Square, courtesy of the project’s developers

The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that the 293-unit apartment building to be part of the planned Rodin Square complex has received a $20 million loan to finance its groundbreaking. The complex, which was approved in the fall, will face the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and take up much of the block bounded by 21st, 22nd, Spring Garden, and Hamilton streets. In addition to the residences, it will include a 55,000-square-foot Whole Foods with underground parking, a “sky park” with an outdoor pool for residents, several commercial spaces, and a parking garage for residents.

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Morning Headlines: Proposed Hotel Near Convention Center Clears Hurdle

The existing building, courtesy of this sale flyer

PlanPhilly reports that a proposal to construct a 12-story addition atop the former Warner Bros. distribution center on 13th Street just north of the Pennsylvania Convention Center received approval from the Philadelphia Historical Commission on July 11, and has video of the meeting. An earlier version of the proposal was rejected in June by the commission’s Architecture Committee.

The two-story Art Moderne building, designed by Frank Furness protege William H. Lee, was recently listed as being for sale for $2.75 million. It is currently owned by Big Brothers Big Sisters.

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High-End Shore Market Unlikely to Be Hurt By Casino Closures

margate home

Photo of 514 N. Thurlow Avenue in Margate, a home for sale for $8.5 million. Copyright SJSRMLS.

The legalization of gambling across the Northeast has hit Atlantic City hard: The latest victim, Trump Entertainment Resorts confirmed this weekend, is Trump Plaza, which is scheduled to close on September 16.

But it’s not all gloom and doom. Real estate experts we contacted said that while the rental market may be hit hard by the job losses — particularly in nearby inland towns like Pleasantville — the closures are much less likely to have a significant impact on the higher income ownership market in towns like Ventnor and Margate.

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Toll Brothers Pushing 410 At Society Hill

A rendering of 410 at Society Hill, courtesy of Toll Brothers

Toll Brothers, the Horsham, PA-based megadeveloper, has found late-career success in the unlikeliest of places: bustling cities. The company has done projects throughout New York City, as well as the remarkably successful 600-unit Naval Square in Graduate Hospital. Now Toll Bros. is pushing its latest Philadelphia offering: the still-under-construction 410 at Society Hill, the luxury condo complex on Headhouse Square that replaces the large hole where Newmarket once stood.

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There Is A Musical About Urban Planning. No, Really.

A promotional image for the show

A promotional image for the show

According to a recent New Yorker story, a while back someone called the office of then-New York City director of city planning Amanda Burden with a request to talk to her—-about an upcoming musical about urban planning. Understandably, Burden didn’t believe it. “I said, ‘That has to be a prank call,’” she told the New Yorker. But then this spring, she saw the new musical If/Then and—-surprise—-encountered a version of herself onstage: “‘Oh, my God,’ she recalled thinking. ‘I think that’s me!’”

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