A Penthouse Sells for a Sky-High Price

The balconies at 500 Walnut are extra-large to appeal to suburbanites used to large yards. The penthouse's terrace, shown here, is especially spacious and striking - and the unit just sold for an all-time record price. | Renderings courtesy Scannapieco Development Corporation

The balconies at 500 Walnut are extra-large to appeal to suburbanites used to large yards. The penthouse’s terrace, a possibility for which is shown here, is especially spacious and striking – and the unit just sold for an all-time record price. | Renderings: Cecil Baker + Partners, courtesy Scannapieco Development Corporation

The two-story penthouse condo at 500 Walnut is stylish and very spacious. And it just set a new record for ultra-luxury sale prices locally.

Scannapieco Development Corporation announced today (June 2nd) that it has sold the 8,900-square-foot penthouse for a record $17.85 million, the highest price yet for a luxury residence in Philadelphia. In addition to breaking the record the company set six years ago with the $12.5 million sale of the penthouse unit at 1706 Rittenhouse Square, the sale also set a new record price per square foot: $2,003, also well above the previous record of $1,613 for the 1706 unit. Read more »

The Piazza Gets New Name, Adds Co-Working to the Mix

WeWork has taken 30,000 square feet of space in the last surviving remnant of the old Schmidt's brewery. It's the office linchpin of the makeover now under way at The Schmidt's Commons. | Photos: Courtesy Edelman Public Relations

WeWork has taken 30,000 square feet of space in the last surviving remnant of the old Schmidt’s brewery. It’s the office linchpin of the makeover now under way at The Schmidt’s Commons. | Photos: Courtesy WeWork/Max Hoagland

Small entrepreneurs and startup companies in Philly now have another option when it comes to flexible co-working office space.

This one comes with beer. And stadium seating. And a host of support services. And a community of other entrepreneurs ready to share their experiences and tips with you virtually as well as physically.

All of this can be found at the new Philly location of WeWork, the newest addition to the mix of offices, shops and restaurants at the Piazza at Schmidt’s. Read more »

A Look at Villanova’s New Lancaster Avenue Building

Villanova's new mixed-use development will enliven the corner of Lancaster Avenue (foreground) and Ithan Avenue. | Rendering © Robert A.M. Stern Architects, courtesy Brian Communications

Villanova’s new mixed-use development will enliven the corner of Lancaster Avenue (foreground) and Ithan Avenue. | Rendering © Robert A.M. Stern Architects, courtesy Brian Communications

With its announcement that it will build a new, 1,100-bed student residence hall with street-floor retail across Lancaster Avenue from the main entrance to its campus, Villanova University has taken a small but significant step towards making its campus look and feel more like a community.

That’s because the mixed-use building, designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects in partnership with Voith & McTavish Architects and to be built by Torcon, will replace what is now a large surface parking lot at the corner of Lancaster and South Ithan avenues.

It will also make Villanova students themselves more a part of a community, according to Chris Kovolski, assistant vice president for government relations and external affairs at Villanova. Read more »

A Preview of the New 2400 Market

The latest version of 2400 Market Street. | Rendering: Varenhorst/Gensler via Philadelphia City Planning Commission

The latest version of 2400 Market Street. | Renderings: Varenhorst/Gensler via Philadelphia City Planning Commission

We knew that what PMC Property Group had planned to put on top of the former Marketplace Design Center was not going to be a simple tower slab.

What we hadn’t expected was that it would be this interesting visually.

The final design Varenhorst and Gensler Philadelphia submitted to the Philadelphia City Planning Commission for Civic Design Review is a little more restrained than the fairly restrained preliminary one, but both are still an improvement over the taller conceptual design PMC released when it first announced the project. Read more »

Dranoff Celebrates Topping-Off of One Riverside

The beam guests signed at the ceremony may be purely symbolic, as One Riverside's frame is largely complete, but it symbolizes years of planning and construction as well as the last piece in the transformation of the Schuylkill riverbank from dump to jewel. | Photos: Sandy Smith

The beam guests signed at the ceremony may be purely symbolic, as One Riverside’s frame is largely concrete, but it symbolizes years of planning and construction as well as the completion of last piece in the transformation of the Schuylkill’s east bank from dump to jewel. | Photos: Sandy Smith

As joggers, dog owners, bicyclists, kids and their parents enjoyed the balmy weather down at street level in Schuylkill River Park yesterday evening (May 25), eight floors up, invited guests, local politicians and some very happy future residents basked in the temporary air conditioning as they joined developer Carl Dranoff and architect Cecil Baker at a “park in the sky” for the ceremonial topping-off of Dranoff’s One Riverside apartment tower.

Guests signed a ceremonial beam on their way to the construction lifts and mingled to the music of the Philadelphia String Quartet before and after Dranoff, Baker and the electeds spoke.

In his remarks to the assembled guests, Dranoff showered praise on all the parties involved in bringing the project to fruition. “It took hard work and three years of planning and construction under pretty intense conditions to transform our vision from blueprints into a stunning addition to our skyline.” Read more »

Ground Broken for New Apartments in Chalfont

Second Empire once removed: The design of the new Patriot Station at Chalfont could be a kissing cousin of Philadelphia City Hall. | Rendering: Courtesy J.G. Petrucci Company

Second Empire once removed: The design of the new Patriot Station at Chalfont could be a kissing cousin of Philadelphia City Hall. | Rendering: Courtesy J.G. Petrucci Company

Chalfont’s historic town center is about to get its first new building in several years. When it’s finished, however, it will be hard to distinguish from the ones that have been standing since the mid- to late 19th century.

That’s because Patriot Station at Chalfont, for which ground was broken yesterday (May 23rd), is designed to match the Victorian architecture of many Chalfont buildings, including the one it’s replacing. Read more »

Hard Hat Tour: The View of 500 Walnut

Architects attending last weekend's AIA convention get a hard hat tour at one remove of the 500 Walnut construction site. | Photos: Sandy Smith

Architects attending last weekend’s AIA convention get a hard hat tour at one remove of the 500 Walnut construction site. | Photos: Sandy Smith

There’s luxury high-rise living, and then there’s luxury high-rise living.

The first kind offers you space where the builder has done the heavy lifting and lets you outfit it from a range of high-end accoutrements; you can supply the interior designer to give it some of your own personality.

Tom Scannapieco specializes in the second kind, the kind where you shape the entire space from the layout to the details to suit your desires. This style of development has redefined the upper end of the luxury market in Philadelphia, and last Thursday, he explained how he raised the bar to a group of architects in town for the American Institute of Architects convention, who also got to see his latest ultra-luxury project as it rises from the ground. Read more »

Parklet Season Gets Off to Early Start During AIA Convention

Parklets have caused many to rethink how we use the public realm. Tomorrow and Friday, a competition invites Philly architects and designers to reimagine the parklet. | Photo credit: Dan Reed via Flickr

Parklets have caused many to rethink how we use the public realm. Tomorrow and Friday, a competition invites Philly architects and designers to reimagine the parklet. | Photo credit: Dan Reed via Flickr

Vistors in town for the American Institute of Architects national convention, Reading Terminal Market patrons, tourists and plain old passers-by will have an opportunity to relax, dine al fresco, and even play architecture critic during a two-day pop-up parklet competition being held in conjunction with the AIA convention.

From noon to 7 p.m. tomorrow and Friday, May 19th and 20th, the Saint-Gobain Parklet Design Competition will put the best efforts of some two dozen local architecture and design firms to a very public test. A dozen contestants each day will erect parklets in the curbside parking spaces in the 1200 block of Arch Street, in front of the Center for Architecture and Design. Convention-goers and the general public are invited to drop in, relax, and take in the sounds and sights of the city around them from the comfort of a parking space converted to pedestrian use. Read more »

Presidential City Gets Its Own Resort

Sora Pool Club

The Sora Pool Club. The Olympic-size lap pool is in the foreground, and the clubhouse is in the back. | Photo: Sandy Smith

Matt and Mike Pestronk, the brains behind Post Brothers Apartments, have a flair for in-your-face public relations, as those who recall the campaign they waged against construction-trades union members who picketed their Goldtex apartment conversion in Callowhill may recall.

They’re also experts at selling sizzle — but they also offer the steak to go with the sizzle.

Post Brothers formally took the wraps off the latest proof of their expertise last night (May 11) at the Presidential City apartment complex on the Philadelphia side of City Avenue in Wynnefield Heights. Read more »

How 1213 Walnut Will Play Nice With Fergie’s

1213 Walnut, Sansom elevation

This rendering of the Sansom Street elevation of 1213 Walnut Street was produced on April 12 by the Design Collective.

Ever since it was first announced by its previous developer, it’s been known that the mixed-use apartment/retail building now rising at 1213 Walnut St., popularly known as the “Fergie Tower,” will envelop the two-story Fergie’s Pub building on Sansom Street.

But up until now, we haven’t seen just how the building will envelop it. Previous project architect TEN Arquitectos, which U3 Ventures had chosen to design the tower it proposed to build, never released to the public renderings of the Sansom Street side of the building.

We now have them, courtesy the Design Collective, the Baltimore-based architect co-developers Hines, the Goldenberg Group and ASB Real Estate Investments chose to design the project they rescuscitated when delays due to opposition from Fergie’s and near neighbors, and then the Great Recession, prevented U3 from proceeding. Read more »

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