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.
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.
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.