The Beacon to Bring 100 Apartments, Roof Deck and an Under Armour to Walnut Street

The Beacon at 16th and Walnut | Rendering via Pearl Properties and DAS Architects

The Beacon at 16th and Walnut | Rendering via Pearl Properties and DAS Architects

Work is well underway on a major mixed-use project at the corner of 16th and Walnut. As you might recall, Pearl Properties is bringing a 10,000-square-foot Under Armour location to the bustling corner, and we now know what will top the store best known for exuberantly decorated uniforms and athletic gear.

Over the weekend, crews shut down the 1500 block of Walnut Street to install a tall tower crane on the slender site at 1527 Walnut Street, which formerly housed a Lululemon store.

The design from DAS Architects shows a 12-story apartment building–which Pearl has dubbed “The Beacon”– built over top of the Brown Brothers Harriman Co. building at 1529-33 Walnut Street.

James Pearlstein, of Pearl Properties, called the new building “our most ambitious project to date,” and said the it should be completed in 2017.

“The Beacon is designed to highlight Philadelphia’s “old and new,” combining the modern finishes of a newly constructed high-rise while preserving and incorporating the timeless architecture of the six story corner masonry building,” added Pearlstein.

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Hale Yeah! Renderings Show Hale Building in All of Its Glory

The Hale Building | Renderings via JKRP Architects

The Hale Building | Renderings via JKRP Architects

After years of sitting vacant, it looks like Brickstone’s restoration of the iconic Hale Building could move quickly. Knock on wood, of course.

The updated designs, which now call for a roof deck for use with the planned creative office space, were given the green light last week from the Historical Commission, according to Deidre DeAscanis, an associate principal with JKRP Architects. Only construction permits are needed for work to begin in earnest.

Earlier plans, which called for hotel at the site, had been approved, and DeAscanis said that they had been working closely with the Commission to ensure the new plans were within that same realm. As such, the intricate masonry, brick, and iron detailing will all be restored. Theose gorgeous copper bays on Juniper Street will be cleaned with the patina replaced in a more “controlled manner.”

A new addition–a grand two-story restaurant entrance that replaces the garish Valu-Plus facade–will seek to bring some life to the Chestnut Street side of the building.

Jonathan Broh, principal with JKRP Architects, said that the Chestnut Street entrance has always been a “litmus test” of the architectural style of the moment (see gallery for timeline). “Hale modified his own building within the first ten years,” added Broh. “That move kind of made it easy to remove the entrance piece and replace it with the styles of the time. We found a modification that Hale did to the original building from 1909, which gave us the massing for our addition.”

The tight confines of the building made for a tough residential or hotel project, as the hallways would have eaten up a lot of valuable space. The new use allows for the architects to take advantage of almost the entire floor plate. “Office is really the best utilization of that building,” said Broh. Each floor will have 7,400-square-feet of space (gross).

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South Kensington OKs Techadelphia Zoning Variance

1525 North American Street

The “Techadelphia” project cleared an important hurdle last night when South Kensington residents voted to support its developer’s request for a zoning variance. Rendering | Harman Deutsch Architecture

Developer Sean Frankel’s request for a zoning variance for his proposed “Techadelphia” mixed-use live/work tech startup hub was approved this week by South Kensington residents who attended the South Kensington Community Partners zoning meeting.

The variance allows Frankel Management Company, the lead developer on the project that includes partner Streamline Solutions, to include residential structures on land zoned exclusively for industrial use. The residences, he explained, are crucial to making his vision of a free co-working space for young tech entrepreneurs work.

“We got overwhelming support. The vote was 27 to 3 in favor of our project,” Frankel said. Building size and parking were the reasons the three who voted against the request did so, he added.

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Habitat: Reviving the Spirit of Vincent Kling on the Main Line

Kling paid considerable attention to the materials he used in his original plan. The weaving of glass, stone, metal and wood plays an important role in the experience both inside and outside the home.

Architect Kevin Yoder painstakingly restored and renovated this classic mid century home designed by Vincent Kling.| Images: Jeffrey Totaro

Perhaps no man besides Ed Bacon left a more lasting physical impression on Center City’s built environment than architect Vincent Kling. His projects, which include Love Park, Centre Square and Penn Square, were often massive in scale, yet few know that he designed a handful of striking modernist homes in the middle of the 1950s.

One such home, located on a sylvan L-shaped lot in Gladwyne, was in desperate need of revival when a Society Hill neighbor approached architect Kevin Yoder, founder of K Yoder Design. The neighbor was on the fence about moving to the ’burbs and asked Yoder if it was worth the sizable investment to purchase the cruciform home and restore it to its former glory.

“When my neighbor found this house,” recalls Yoder, “he contacted me immediately and said, ‘Let’s check out this place together. I’m not doing it unless you do it with me,’ which was quite an honor.”

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Manufacturing Philadelphia Tech Jobs: A New “Factory” to Rise on American Street

1525 North American Street

Streamline’s “jobs factory” pays homage to American Street’s past – and, the developers hope, its future. Rendering | Harman Deutsch Architecture

[Updated Jan. 27, 5:30 p.m. to indicate that a vote has yet to take place.]

South Kensington (or Old Kensington, to some) has historically been part of the city’s industrial heart, but lately developers responding to the residential boom in neighboring Northern Liberties and Fishtown have been giving those old industrial buildings heart transplants such as the one the current home of Spencer Industries on Mascher Street is about to get.

The city, it appears, hasn’t abandoned the notion that South Kensington can still be home to industry completely, though. American Street, an extra-wide north-south thoroughfare between Second and Third streets that still has a freight railroad line running down its middle (long abandoned, alas), is still mostly zoned industrial, and there’s still a Keystone Opportunity Zone designation intended to lure job-creating businesses running the length of the street in Kensington.

Yet most of these industrial-zoned lots remain vacant, like the one Streamline Solutions, a local development firm that specializes in residential projects, purchased on the east side of American Street, extending from Jefferson Street almost all the way to Oxford Street. Surrounding the lot are mostly residential structures, including a row of houses on the block’s Oxford Street side that clearly predate its I-2 zoning.

This would seem to be a great place to build new residences. But the lot’s zoned industrial, which means a variance would be required to build any residential structure.

Which led Streamline co-CEO Sean Frankel to propose a novel solution to the problem: Build townhomes on the back half of the lot and a “factory” of a different sort on the front.

“I spoke with our architects, and they said it was zoned for industrial and manufacturing,” he said. “I asked them if there was anything else we could do on the site.”

And that’s when Frankel had his epiphany: “I said, ‘We’re going to manufacture tech jobs.'”

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Snøhetta Drops Stunning Renderings of the New Temple University Library

The main entrance to the new Temple University Library | ©MIR & Snøhetta

The main entrance to the new Temple University Library | ©MIR & Snøhetta

Snøhetta has a thing for designing spectacular libray buildings all around the globe, and it just so happens that one such building will soon rise from the ground on the campus of Temple University. If we can gather anything from the tantalizing renderings released today, the new “social core” of campus is going to be a stunner.

The design, as you may recall, received glowing support during the Civic Design Review process in the fall; even inspiring Philly’s own starchitect and CDR board member, Cecil Baker, to near poetry.  “I see your project and I get filled with hope,” Baker said, of Snøhetta’s work.

The new Temple University Library will be located on Liacouras Walk at the former site of Barton Hall and adjacent to the upcoming Quad, an expansive green space in the heart of campus. The project is expected to be completed by fall 2018.

More from Snøhetta, who collaborated with Stantec on the overall design: “This new library will put Temple University at the forefront of progressive research institutions. Acting as a new social, cultural, and intellectual hub for the university and surrounding community, the design serves the contemporary needs of a world-class research facility and its students.

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#Phillyscape: Winter Storm Jonas Edition

There are a few things synonymous with big snowstorms: snowball fights, fireplaces and most importantly, Instagram opportunities. With that in mind, we decided today would be a good day to catch up on #phillyscape, our favorite Instagram hashtag to gather your best photos from around Philadelphia.

What we found did not disappoint, as Philadelphians clearly capitalized on the opportunities to post a ton of great photos from the blizzard. We chose our favorites and put them all together here for you to check out, whether you’re still snowed in or you (like us) made it in to work today and are looking for a distraction.

And don’t forget to keep posting photos with #phillyscape from around the city. We’re hoping to get this going again every Friday with our favorite sights.

[Check out the rest of our coverage of the historic blizzard here.]

Enjoy your day #Philadelphia. A great shot by @fr_nk ❄️❄️❄️

A photo posted by RECphilly (@recphilly) on

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Good Food Flats: A Foodie Utopia is Under Construction in Powelton Village

Good Foods Flats | via Cross Properties

Good Foods Flats | via Cross Properties

A new apartment facility is under construction in Powelton Village, and let’s just say the experience will cater to a very distinct type of resident.

Cross Properties
announced that Good Food Flats, a 44-unit, 175-bed complex at 4030 Baring Street (map), will be marketed to students participating in Drexel’s Hospitality and Sports Management (HSM) program, and featuring a pop-up restaurant/entrepreneur incubator space, a food lab with a commercial kitchen and even dedicated urban garden spaces on the roof and backyard where students can grow their own fruits and veggies.

Kevin Michals, co-founder of Cross Properties, that University City has always featured cheaper “mom and pop” rentals where students can rent a room, and recently, luxury apartment towers have priced students out of quality, modern housing.

“People who are paying tuition can’t afford those,” said Michals. “We’re going to be priced at $750/month per bed. That’s slightly more expensive than the mom and pops, but professionally managed and a fraction of what the towers cost.”

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1911 Walnut: Developer Negotiating With Rittenhouse Plaza for More Space

1911 Walnut | Rendering: Solomon Cordwell Buenz

1911 Walnut | Rendering: Solomon Cordwell Buenz

More information about 1911 Walnut was made known yesterday during a presentation to the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. Oddly enough, it had to do with adding more space.

The proposed 50-story tower, easily the tallest on Rittenhouse Square, would accommodate 342 rental apartments, 64 luxury condo units, and a whole slew of retail on Walnut Street, 20th Street and Sansom Street. The Inquirer reports that developer Southern Land Company is negotiating with the owners of the Rittenhouse Plaza at 1901 Walnut Street to buy an adjacent three story annex for even more retail, probably for two restaurant spaces.

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Live in a Landmark: The Fully Restored Barn at Devon Prep Wows Once Again

The entry gate is made of original exterior stone from the barn and Images via Coppock Properties

The entry gate is made of original exterior stone from the barn and restored wrought iron from the horse stables |  Images via Coppock Properties & Restorations

The thing about undertaking a major restoration project at an area landmark is that you’re always going to have eyes on you. Bob Coppock, of Coppock Properties & Restorations, knows about that all too well, as he’s just wrapped up the granddaddy of them all for those who live in and around Tredyffrin Township: the former barn property at Devon Prep (map).

The barn, near the split of Conestoga and Upper Gulph roads, dates back to 1910, and Coppock estimates that three to five people per day would stop by the project to see what was going on at the property. More importantly, they wanted to be sure that he wasn’t gutting it and razing the handsome French Normandy-style barn.

“Our offer included promising to restore it and not tear it down,” says Coppock, who spent the past 30 years in the automotive consulting business before diving head first into major restoration projects about seven years ago. “Writing a letter to the owner help us secure it, as I understand we were not the highest bidder. So our plans for the barn went into the decision to sell it to us.”

Today, the barn houses two meticulously crafted luxury homes that offer a balance of old world style and modern amenities–but that wasn’t always the case.

In fact, as Dave Burton, mayor of Malvern, tells it, life was quite a bit different when his family bought the property on Upper Gulph Road in 1947 and lived in the residence on the left side of the barn: “Before they subdivided the land and put all the homes in, you could walk through the woods and look for a Christmas tree. There was a pond back there and, of course, Devon Prep was back there. This was the farmhouse where the farmhands used to live. As a kid, it was just a great place to grow up.”

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