A finished model unit at The Bridge, outfitted with furniture from Millésimé | Ligne Roset. | Photos: Sandy Smith unless otherwise noted
Some of 205 Race Street’s Old City neighbors wanted a building at Second and Race streets that respected the neighborhood’s cornice line.
They got one, only with a tower plunked on top of it.
Others worried about the view of the Ben Franklin Bridge. A hole in that tower preserves it.
And both the neighbors and the developer of the building wish the billboard right next to it would just go away.
Well, you can’t get everything you want. But this imaginative green apartment tower gives a lot to both its future residents and its neighbors, as this tour of work in progress should show.
The residents will get amenities of a kind found in few city apartment buildings, including private rooftop terraces they can lease and a green-roofed outdoor commons.
The neighbors will get a sidewalk plaza as well, plus an interesting view of that commons along with new retail space populated by businesses with Old City connections: United by Blue, the clothier and coffee shop currently located just a few doors south on Second Street; Moxie Blue, a high-end hair salon whose owner lives in Old City; and Tuna Bar, a sushi restaurant from the Old City residents who also run Yokohama in Maple Shade.
And the environment (and the city sewers) will get a break thanks to the eco-conscious features that qualified The Bridge, as 205 Race will be known, for LEED Gold certification.
“This is the first high-rise LEED Gold building in the city,” said Jeff Brown, the Brown Hill Development partner who led the tour through several of the building’s floors.
Another distinctive first: ten percent of the apartments will be affordable, with no distinction between the affordable and market-rate units. “There’s no diminution of the finishes,” Brown said. “There’s no ‘poor door’ ever. We want to have diversity in our building. We’re in a city. Why not?”
The design by the New York-based architectural firm Gluck+ is also distinctive in many ways, most notably for its much-lower-than-normal ratio of 90-degree angles. Interior hallways on the lower apartment floors, for instance, zigzag gently to break the monotony, Brown explained. So do the facades of both the tower and the base.
As the tour proceeded from the retail spaces up to the roof deck, then back down through the apartment floors, we got to see the gradual progress on the units, ending with the furnished models on the second floor.
The Bridge: 205 Race Street Hard Hat Tour
The building, viewed from 2nd Street just below Race.
A closeup of the 2nd and Race corner.
The retail spaces under construction, viewed from the apartment building lobby.
The corner space will house United by Blue. Brown Hill hosted a First Friday event in this space on Dec. 2.
For the event, the developer posted renderings on the west wall as part of the artwork.
A rendering of the building as it will look when finished, from the east. | Renderings: Glick+ for Brown Hill Development
A view to the east along Race Street.
The apartment building entrance.
The fifth-floor rooftop garden.
A community lounge on the fifth floor.
The floor plan for the fifth-floor amenities level.
The community rooftop terrace on the 18th floor.
The metal poles in this and the next two pictures will hold the dividers for the private terraces on the west side of the 18th-floor roof.
A worker dries out a vent hole on the terrace area.
Building residents will be able to reserve the 18th-floor private terraces for their personal use.
The skyline view from the 18th floor, looking west.
The Ben Franklin Bridge approach, viewed from the 18th floor.
The view of the Delaware riverfront from the 18th floor.
The Ben Franklin Bridge, viewed from the 18th floor.
The view to the south from the 18th floor.
The elevator lobby on the 17th-floor penthouse level.
Framing for one of the 17th-floor penthouses.
A bedroom in one of the penthouse units.
A bathroom will occupy this space.
A living room in one of the penthouse units. Brown explained that the building's interior design allows for variations in room dimensions and window heights from floor to floor.
Equipment cases in one of the units under construction.
Work is a little further along on the 14th floor.
Drywall has been completed for the 14th-floor units.
A bedroom in a 14th-floor apartment. Note the difference in window heights and treatments.
The view to the east from the 14th-floor unit. "If you could get rid of that billboard, I'd be happy," Brown said.
Brown in the entrance hall of a 10th-floor unit.
Kitchen cabinets awaiting installation.
Indirect lighting over the kitchen area is a feature common to all units.
The tub has been installed in this unit's bathroom.
There are eight units on the floors above the eighth floor, and slightly fewer on the penthouse floors. The roof over the fifth-floor garden cuts the eighth floor in half, and there are only four units on floors 6, 7 and 8. Here, a view through an opening that will be covered when the building is finished shnows where the fifth-floor terrace roof line.
Above that roof is plumbing and mechanical equipment.
One of the eighth-floor units.
A view of the emergency exit stairwell from that eighth-floor unit.
A living room in an eighth-floor unit.
A worker installs kitchen cabinetry in an eighth-floor apartment.
One of the installed cabinets.
The fifth-floor community lounge.
A doorway from the lounge to the west terrace.
The terrace will have a green roof with some hardscaping.
The area under the tower overhang will likewise be covered in grass that will slow stormwater runoff.
The main terrace access will be from the elevator lobby, whose entrance is seen here.
The view from the terrace back into the lounge.
The ceiling of the overhang will be covered with a reflective material that will alllow passers-by to look up and see the greenery reflected in the ceiling.
The view to the south from the fifth-floor terrace.
The second through fourth floors have hallways and more apartments. The units on these floors are closer to completion.
Another view of a nearly completed fourth-floor unit.
The view from a west-facing fourth-floor apartment.
The indirect lighting trough in a fourth-floor unit.
Bathroom tile work is complete in this unit.
The interior hallways on the lower floors are not straight; Brown explained that the bends are designed to break up the monotony.
Construction materials on the second-floor terrace.
Four apartments on the second floor will have their own private terraces, marked off by the steel poles in this photo.
The living-dining area in a two-bedroom model unit.
The view from the dining area.
The living room and kitchen.
The entrance hall, viewed from the kitchen.
A bathroom separates one of the bedrooms from the entrance hallway.
The shower in that bathroom.
The bedroom off the entrance hall.
The living room in the one-bedroom model unit.
The one-bedroom model's kitchen.
The bedroom in the one-bedroom model unit.
The kitchen in a studio model unit.
"Porch roofs" will mark the entrance to each apartment.
The exterior cladding is nearly complete on the lower floors.
The sidewalk has been expanded along the retail frontage to create a small public plaza.
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