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).
Castleway has presented its plans to the Center City Residents’ Association, which appointed a task force to review the proposal. Philadelphia fixture KlingStubbins, now a part of Jacobs, is the project’s architect. (KlingStubbins was also the architect on the proposal Castleway presented before the recession.)
The L-shaped lot is one of the most prominent and valuable vacant lots in the city—according to city data, even in its current condition it's worth over $10 million. It's been vacant since a fire burned down a building on the site in the early 1990s, and has played host to several different development proposals over the years. Castleway bought it in 2007 for an astronomical $36.7 million, and some have suggested that that high price has hampered Castleway’s development efforts so far.
The market for high-end condos in the area has been strong recently: 1706 Rittenhouse and 10 Rittenhouse, the square's two new towers, have been highly successful. But Castleway's tower would no doubt face some potentially tough competition from the thousands of new residential units currently in the pipeline.
We've reached out to Castleway and will update if we hear anything new about the project.
[Hat tip: Skyscraper Page forums]