BREAKING: Dranoff to Build PA’s Highest Residential Tower on South Broad

Here are renderings of the hotel/condo 47 stories high.

Photo: Laura Kicey

Photo: Laura Kicey

In April developer Carl Dranoff told Property’s Shannon Rooney, “The best is yet to come on South Broad Street. Later this year, look for a big announcement… We have several equation-changing projects for the city.” He was undoubtedly referring to the news that broke on Hidden City on Nov. 20th: that the company would build an SLS boutique hotel/luxury condo tower — SLS International — at Broad and Spruce.

sls international

Day rendering by KPF.


This morning, in advance of a press conference at the Kimmel Center, the Inquirer's Al Heavens has some more details on the Dranoff Properties project, which is a partnership with sbe Entertainment Group, the parent company of Sam Nazarian's SLS hotel chain.

sls international

Night rendering of SLS International by KPF.

Here's what we know about the tower thus far:

- 47 stories and 562 feet high
- 422,838 square feet
- Hotel and condos will have separate lobbies
- 162 hotel rooms
- 125 condo units ranging from one-bedroom to penthouse.
- Ground-floor retail
- A fifth-floor, 6,000-square-foot, double-height glass ballroom
- A ground-floor corner bar and restaurant
- One level of underground parking
- Three levels of above-grade parking
- Total parking spots: 220
- Target groundbreaking: next fall
- Construction time: two years
- Cost: more than $200 million

The building will be designed by Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF), builders of the world's highest hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. The South Broad project will be helmed by the firm's chair A. Eugene Kohn, a Philadelphia native who designed the international terminal at PHL; the Four Seasons on Logan Square; and the BNY Mellon Center.

Dranoff says the building will be the Keystone State's "tallest structure built for residential use" and the units will be his most expensive yet.

Given the vagaries of Philadelphia's zoning code and the necessity for community buy-in, why are we talking about this as though it's a done deal? Well, this is Dranoff, after all -- the man behind Left Bank; World Café Live; Symphony House; 777 Broad Street; and the upcoming Southstar Lofts. He gets things done. And there's this:

Dranoff said approvals for the project were at "the 3-yard line," with Councilman Mark Squilla set to introduce legislation in City Council to extend the zoning designation CMX-5, which allows a higher building floor area in relation to the lot, past Spruce Street to Pine Street.

Also, he has apparently been meeting with a group of tight-lipped neighbors for some time: "Neighborhood meetings resulted in changes to the design, he said, adding that 'Kohn attended every one of them.'"

The presence of the mayor at this press conference is another indicator.

As predicted, the project will require the demolition of 309 South Broad, once home to Gamble and Huff's Philadelphia International music empire and The Sound of Philadelphia Shop. The name SLS International is meant to pay tribute to the Philadelphia International legacy. 311 South Broad will also be demolished, and the University of the Arts has emptied 313 South Broad, the site of PHS' terrific pop-up garden that everyone wished would never leave.

47-story hotel/condo building set for South Broad

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  • matthew brandley

    Withe housing market imploding why would anyone want to start a construction project so upscale of this magnitude? I am betting this goes bankrupt before its even finished. Look at housing in vegas right now and you have your anwer folks

    • DTurner

      You’re comparing the housing market of Las Vegas to that of Center City Philly? The two markets bear little to no resemblance to one another.

      Also, since when has the housing market imploded?

    • EW

      Sounds like somebody bought in Jersey and is having some regrets.

  • SHMeyer

    Will they be building over Cypress Street? That alley will disapear?

    • DTurner

      That seems to be the plan, unless they’re made any major changes recently. Frankly, it’s not a huge loss, since those alleys are pretty crappy coming right off of Broad.

      • Bob Dobolino

        Sure they are, since those buildings of Gambles have been maintained in disrepair. Oh, and the 80 homeless guys who loiter out there waiting to get into the “homeless cafe” that the city dropped on us 5 years ago without a zoning hearing isn’t helping the situation either. By the way that’s a $400,000.00 contract per year that the “church” gets to line those vagrants up every night and create an eyesore and unsafe, lawless environment. I’m sure that wasn’t intentional though – to blight an otherwise nice neighborhood.

    • Liz Spikol

      That’s what Hidden City said when they wrote about it — that the alley would disappear.

    • Bob Dobolino

      It’s not an alley. It is a street.

  • PhillyResident

    Looked around for renderings and… wow this is going to be an eyesore. keep the city old and beautiful. the skyline looks more and more like the crappy parts of singapore every day…

    • The Silent Majority

      Booo. Change is bad… Or good for a city struggling to become a modern attractive place to do business. We should be welcoming new businesses with open arms. This city needs it.

    • Yilmaz Singh

      I agree with you, this building is unimaginative, dull, and shallow. I don’t understand why these architects lately have not been able to elaborate on the existing architecture of the city. They could at least make it look like it belongs in Philadelphia and build something that positively reflects the character of the neighborhood. A modern glass curtain thumb drive sticking out of the sidewalk with layer cake metallic bands around each floor. How original. That must have taken all of a day to design.

    • kclo3

      This isn’t any more of an eyesore than Symphony House or the Doubletree. In fact, it’s quite good for a highrise infill building, and certainly the best anyone could have expected from Dranoff.

      • Bob Dobolino

        That is an ugly building they are proposing, and it has a logo as cheap as an 80′s cadillac. Why give up light and views for his garbage, so he can have them instead of us? Gee, sounds like a good deal to me.

  • Earl J

    I guess it will be taller than 2 Liberty Place which I assume is the highest building with residents now?

    • DTurner

      I’m guessing that they are not counting 2 Liberty Place, since it was not originally designed as a residential tower. Gotta love loopholes…

  • takadanobaby

    Seriously? A part of the name and nothing more? The Sound of Philadelphia is some of the most significant music ever made in the USA. There needs to be nothing less than a museum

  • scarlet

    this is getting completely out of control! its happening everywhere because these developers have to compete with each other and now its … who can build a bigger, taller, shinier building. its deplorable to say the least, we need more preservationists to fight this destruction of our history and ambiance with character and to stop allowing these god awful glass structures to take over our cities. really!!!

  • Bob Dobolino

    Hopefully the civic design review board will recall that highrises are not allowed in center city south of spruce st, SO THAT WE HAVE SOUTHERNLY LIGHT IN CENTER CITY. Dranoof shouldn’t get to take up all the light and have all the views via specially tailored crony legislation.

    • DTurner

      Are not allowed south of Spruce? The zoning suggests otherwise. Even the NE plot on Broad and Washington is zoned CMX-5.

      • Bob Dobolino

        that’s down on Washington ave dude, and it’s an isolated track in an industrial area. we are talking about center city here aren’t we?

  • Bob Dobolino

    Carl Dranoff, the guy who doesn’t have to go through zoning like everyone else because Mark Squilla wrote him a special piece of legislation ahead of community and zba meetings.. That’s not cutting the line though. Nor is it special treatment, cronyism or crony capitalism.