Early Renderings for 1911 Walnut Leaked; Developer Says They’re Outdated

1911 Walnut

The proposed site of 1911 Walnut | Photo: James Jennings

If a popular development forum is to be believed, it looks like Southern Land Company has gigantic plans for 1911 Walnut–like, 600-foot high glass castle-type plans. But as the old saying goes, you can’t necessarily believe everything you see on the Internet.

Representatives from Southern Land Company have long said they envision an iconic development for the site, and according conceptual renderings posted to a thread on the Philadelphia forum (and subsequently on Facebook) of Skyscraper Page, a tower consisting of apartments and condos (as well as many balconies and a large, tree-lined terrace) will rise to 51 floors and top 600 feet. Multiple site plans show a large, multi-story retail and amenity podium fronting Walnut Street, and another on 20th Street that wraps around the corner and onto Sansom Street.

It’s quite a spectacular sight, to be sure, but are these designs the real deal?

Yes, the renderings are indeed legitimate, or at least they were, a spokesperson for Southern Land Company confirmed with Property. However, they are no longer accurate and are out of date.

“We have been meeting with neighborhood stakeholders over the last several months to obtain their input and are updating the renderings accordingly,” wrote Rebecca Divine in a follow up email. “We will release the latest and greatest within the next two weeks. We are excited be a part of Rittenhouse Square and Philadelphia and look forward to sharing our plans with the community.”

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Six Splendiferous Spaces to Make Your Holiday Season Bright

TREND image via Zillow

TREND image via Zillow

Trust us, the quirkiness will go up a few notches at certain points in this list, but we thought we’d ease you in by starting with a more traditionally designed space. This cozy room, found in what might be an outbuilding on this Main Line property, is just what we imagine for a family get together that counts several adolescents at the dinner table. Just picture it: Every one finishes their Turkey Day meal and the adults file into the formal family room, while the teens make their way here and hang out undisturbed, free to listen to their rock and roll music and do the Snapchatting. It’s a win-win!

The Bryn Mawr residence, which includes a 5-bedroom dwelling with columns, 2-car garage, and storage/playhouse, is listed for $1,699,000. More info here.

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Cherry on Top: Parkway Complex With Mega Whole Foods “Tops Out” Today

The Dalian

Rodin Square/The Dalian on the Park site from September | Photo: James Jennings

The development scene on the Ben Franklin Parkway is booming these days as multiple big-time projects–including a revamped luxury hotel, over 1,000 apartments, bridge and park improvements and more–are bringing all kinds of attention to Philly’s cultural corridor.

One such project, a massive mixed-use development dubbed Rodin Square, takes up about a full city block on a three-acre parcel bound by 21st ad 22nd streets, and Spring Garden Street, Pennsylvania Avenue and Hamilton Street (map). Dalian Development and International Financial Company (IFC), along with INTECH Construction, will officially “top out” the project today at a ceremony slated for noon.

The event will take place on the tricked-out “Skydeck” amenity terrance overlooking the Parkway, and mark a milestone in the construction process for the $160 million project. The groundbreaking took place in August 2014, and construction is expected to fully wrap up in summer of 2016. The apartments will be ready soon thereafter, but you’ll have to wait a tad longer for the gigantic Whole Foods Market to arrive–it’s scheduled to open in fall 2016.

So what will we have when the proverbial dust has settled? Let’s just say you can expect some big things.
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Glam It Up: Makeover of 40th Street Trolley Portal to Start in 2016

Rendering by Andropogon Associates via University City District website

Rendering by Andropogon Associates via University City District website

In case you missed it, the University City District has published its latest State of University City report, an annually-released compendium of the developments bubbling up in University City. The guide spotlights several sectors in U.C., among them academic, commercial, and residential, as well as the impact UCD itself has on this section of the city.

With relation to the latter, the release of the report came with the announcement that the 40th Street Trolley Portal transformation would be seeing its groundbreaking take place next year.

We previously reported the makeover project, spearheaded by UCD in partnership with SEPTA, the city, and neighborhood leaders, came with the aim of turning the bleak station into a lively social space with greenery and stormwater infrastructure, movable furniture, and arts and cultural programming.

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Rittenhouse Coffee Shop Spared, Its Two Neighbors Still on Chopping Block

The Rittenhouse Coffee Shop on the 1900 block of Sansom Street

The Rittenhouse Coffee Shop on the 1900 block of Sansom Street

We’ve devoted quite a bit of time to the 1911 Walnut project already. The fact that something, anything, was going to happen at the lot was one of our bold predictions for 2015, so it’s only natural that we check in on any and every happening with the project. Well, news is starting to come fast and furious and it’s been a mixed bag of sorts, especially on the preservation front.

As you probably know, Southern Land Company bought the massive L-shaped assemblage in February for $30 million and recently submitted an application to the Historical Commission to demolish a trio of buildings on the 1900 block of Sansom Street, the northern border of the property. The list includes the Rittenhouse Coffee Shop, the Warwick apartment building, and the O.H.Bair Funeral Home. The developer has claimed economic hardship and cited that it would be too costly to revive the handsome structures, even though they told us in February that they intended “to work with the historic commission to restore the Rittenhouse Coffee Shop and Warwick.”

Well, it looks like they’ve done a slight about-face, as the company announced on Friday that they’ve pulled back the demo application for one of the three buildings, specifically the Rittenhouse Coffee Shop.

“As a result of meetings with officials from the Preservation Alliance and the Center City Residents’ Association task force, Southern Land Company, as a demonstration of its ongoing commitment to principles of historic preservation, will withdraw its application to the Historical Commission for the demolition of the Rittenhouse Coffee Shop.”

However, as per the next sentence in the release, we also learn that its neighbors aren’t necessarily so lucky: “The previously submitted applications for the severely deteriorated Warwick apartment building and Oliver Bair funeral home will remain in place.”

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Property’s Photo of the Week: Philly’s Beauty Is in the Most Random Places

A photo posted by Philadelphia 🍕 (@beansauer) on

We’d by lying if we said Chad Aaronson‘s cool City Hall drone video wasn’t still on our minds. So with that being the case, we went in search of yet another unique angle from which to view Philadelphia’s grand Second Empire construction. The #Phillyscape shot that won us over? This classic disorienting puddle capture taken by Instagrammer @beansauer.

Unlike the last reflection photo we featured of City Hall, this one showcases Philly’s recognizable building in the midst of late fall with some stray leaves sprinkled on the street. Its simplicity captures the season in Philadelphia perfectly (though of, of course, a mash up of the city’s foliage in all its glory is just as striking) and reminds us that for all our town’s flaws and difficulties, its got a whole lot of its beauty tucked away in the most random places.

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Habitat: Sexy Unit at the Barclay Comes With Unbelievable History

Can you believe this used to be a de-facto storage unit for Apple products? Photography by christopher Leaman

Can you believe this used to be a de-facto storage unit for Apple products? Photography by christopher Leaman

It’s fitting that a designer and architect from Argentina, who also spent 14 years practicing his craft in London, would stumble upon an apartment whose road-less-traveled history is as unconventional as they come.

Two years ago, Eduardo Ardiles, founder of Studio Edo in Fishtown, and his partner, Joe Ujobai, heard whispers that a 19th-floor unit at the Barclay on Rittenhouse Square was available for rent. The two were hunting for a long-term rental to live in as they renovated their dream home at 21st and Delancey, and Ardiles negotiated a deal in which he’d revamp the apartment in exchange for lower rent.

The pair landed the coveted apartment, but there was a catch: The owner used it to store a vast collection of vintage Apple computers*. “It was almost like a technology crash course in one place,” Ardiles laughs. “A lot of boxes weren’t even open.”

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Watch: Star Wars-Loving Family Builds 23-Foot Death Star on Their Roof

Yup, that's a Death Star | Screengrab via Youtube

Yup, that’s a Death Star | Screengrab via Youtube

Think your house is the ultimate example when it comes to over-the-top Halloween (or Thanksgiving, or Papal, or Christmas, or anything) decorations? Not to burst your bubble, friends from the Northeast Philly or South 13th Street, but one family in Lafayette, California probably would take the top prize this year in any city–hands down.

That’s because Colby Powell and his family constructed a massive Death Star to adorn their home for the Halloween season–and let’s just say they didn’t cut any corners. According to Wired (and the Youtube video after the jump), this puppy spans 23-feet in diameter and is built using some legit materials:

162 Geohub connectors, 2,000 feet of half-inch PVC conduit pipe in six different lengths, 18 cans of paint, LED lights, two T-10 parachutes to cover each half, and a crane to put it into place.

It took three weeks for Powell, a construction worker by trade, to assemble the Death Star, and he said the family plans to have it up until the time the new movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, makes it to theaters in mid-December. That’s right, this fantastical battle station will be up through the holiday season, which is appropriate since it also lights up.

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WATCH: City Hall Drone Footage Captures Rarely-Seen View of William Penn

Credit: Chad Aaronson / JerseyDrone

Credit: Chad Aaronson / JerseyDrone

Don’t know about you, but we don’t remember ever seeing William Penn from this angle!

We’re talking, of course, about the Penn statue that sits atop City Hall. Thanks to Chad Aaronson, the guy behind Jersey Drone, we got a sweeping view of our city’s seat of government and its long-standing silent icon in a drone video that Aaronson filmed two days ago. Funnily enough, the cool vid wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for… well, we’ll let him explain.

“I actually did not go to Philly with the intention of filming City Hall,” he told Property. “My original plan was to get some footage of the SS United States, however I could not get permission from the security guards to fly there. So, the next best thing was a cool building.”

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Green Roof Incentive Bill Gets Thumbs Up From Council

A photo posted by katep629 (@katep629) on

The newly opened Cira Green in University City sits atop a parking garage between the FMC Tower and evo apartment building like some sort of amazing proto-Jetsonian green space – and we’re dying to pay it a visit. At least, that’s how the photos (one of them included above) taken at the new public roof-top park make us feel.

What’s more, it has both built-in blue roof and green roof systems, which means stormwater management and grass and other greenery, respectively, will help reduce at least some of the negative environmental impact the buildings have. Managed stormwater runoff, for example, helps alleviate some of the pollution that enters our waterways.

As you can see, green roofs can be pretty beneficial, which is why it should come as little surprise that City Council’s Committee on Rules recently voted in favor of approving a bill that encourages developers building within RM-1, CMX-2, and CMX-2.5 districts to include them in their projects. Huzzah!

Introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, the bill would allow developers to build more than previously approved units within these designated zoning districts if – and only if – they include approved green roofs. Sayeth PlanPhilly:

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