Tower Proposal Looks to Continue the Boom on Chestnut Street

Tower at 709 Chestnut Street | via Roseland Property

Tower at 709 Chestnut Street | via Roseland Property

Chestnut Street is in the middle of quite the renaissance. While some are looking to protect the future of its architectural gems of yesteryear, others are working to re-imagine the identity of the Chestnut Street corridor as a live-work environment that’s near everything Philly has to offer. Look no further than this week’s announcement that the partnership of Roseland–a subsidiary of Mack-Cali Realty Corp.–and Parkway Corporation, wants to bring a 32-story residential tower to the parking lot at 709 Chestnut Street, adjacent to Union Trust, which is currently a catering facility.

“We’re seeing a tremendous move back into Center City,” said Marshall Tycher, president of Roseland. Plans call for a 32-story tower consisting of 304 luxury rental units to be built on the parking lot. Read more »

Morning Headlines: PIDC ‘Quarterbacking’ Cause for Navy Yard Subway Extension

Rendering of the Navy Yard Master Plan. By PIDC via Technically Philly.

Rendering of the Navy Yard Master Plan. By PIDC via Technically Philly.

Much like Center City and University City, The Navy Yard is experiencing its own boom, adding 1,000 jobs per year. Unlike the aforementioned core of the city, The Yard is waaaayyy down at the other end of Broad Street. It’s essentially only accessible by car or a long, criss-crossing walk from Pattison AT&T Station. Once you’re there though, it’s a magical place full of amazing old buildings, shiny new green buildings, decommissioned ships,  a Vetri joint and amazing views of the Delaware River. It’s getting there that’s the hardest part. Old slogan aside, that’s where SEPTA comes in, or the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), rather.

PlanPhilly’s Jim Saksa reports today that PIDC is working on plans to extend SEPTA’s Broad Street Line deep into The Navy Yard, possibly with two stations.

Having the PIDC not simply cheerleading, but quarterbacking, the extension makes it a more viable contender for completion than many of the daydream proposals that periodically tease Philadelphia’s imagination.

For a look at the plans, check out PlanPhilly’s in-depth report.

PIDC charts a course for BSL extension to Navy Yard

 Progress at Rodin Square and more!

Read more »

Philly Council OKs Massive 3-D Billboards in Center City

An urban experiential display outside of Reading Terminal Market.

Philadelphia City Council passed legislation Thursday to allow large-size digital billboards in a part of Center City near the Reading Terminal Market and Convention Center.

Critics of the ads — known as “urban experiential displays” — said they would be unsightly and lower the value of nearby properties.

“We’re not talking kiosks,” said Kiki Bolender, chairwoman of the Design Advocacy Group of Philadelphia. “We’re talking about the house next door lit up like a billboard on I-95.”

Read more »

POLL: Which LOVE Park Redesign Do You Prefer?

After several meetings wherein officials heard out Philadelphians about what they envisioned for the new JFK Plaza / LOVE Park, the folks over at Hargreaves Associates sat down and incorporated the ideas into the soon-to-be redesigned space. Here are the four design concepts they came up with– what do you think?:

Images: Hargreaves Associates via

Yes, no, maybe so? Perhaps you should take a look at the more in-depth JFK PLAZA/LOVE PARK Improvement Project presentation before voting on either the Square 1, Square 2, Bow-tie 1, or Bow-tie 2 plans. Make an informed decision, yah know? However, should none of the concepts be to your liking, feel free to leave a comment telling us why! (Although for the love of Ben Franklin, please don’t suggest an Applebee’s take its place.)

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Demo Watch: Here’s a Short Video of an Excavator Eating a Building

Welp, it looks like demolition at the future home of the SLS International Hotel & Residences is officially underway at Broad and Cypress Street (Spruce). That’s not at all surprising, considering developer Carl Dranoff along with the rest of his “Dream Team” – sbe’s Sam Nazarian, hit-makers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and star interior designer Philippe Starck – held a flashy press conference recently to officially welcome Starck and celebrate the history of the site. Dranoff called the project a “new gold standard” for the site, Read more »

Dreams of a Giant Slide in the New Comcast Tower Are Fading


Original rendering via Comcast, Annotations by Dan McQuade

Remember that multi-story slide in the original renderings of Comcast’s second tower of tech Utopia, the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center? Sure you do! Dan McQuade told you all about it last January:

Now here’s where the building gets cool. First off, there is a slide. A slide! Why doesn’t every atrium-type room have slides? (Or at least fireman poles.) Think how much time you’d save going from the third floor to the first! Norman Foster combined McDonaldland with The Gallery and created the greatest room ever.

Apparently, it was all just one big tubular dream. Read more »

Morning Headlines: Is The Gallery Still on Track After Hostile Takeover Bid?


The Gallery has been all over the news lately. The beloved 2 Street Cafe closed its doors for good this past weekend and now comes word that Macerich, co-investor with PREIT in the redevelopment at The Gallery, shot down an attempted $16 billion hostile takeover bid by Simon Property Group, the largest mall operator in the nation.

The Associated Press is reporting that Simon, who recently renovated Franklin Mills into Philadelphia Mills, approached Macerich about the deal earlier this month. Macerich refused the deal, citing that it undervalued their company, wasn’t a good fit for their shareholders and could even violate antitrust laws. So does this power grab sidetrack the project at The Gallery?

After Simon made its bid for Macerich, PREIT spokeswoman Heather Crowell said the offer did not “change either the plans or the schedule for the redevelopment of the Gallery.”


More headline action this way:

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Opening of Observation Deck at One Liberty Place Moved to Fall 2015

Photo credit: ryanoshea via Flickr.

Photo credit: ryanoshea via Flickr.

I know, I know…we were all itching for the observation deck at One Liberty Place to open this summer, as had been the plan when we first heard about it. Alas, we’ll have to wait for August to be behind us before heading on over with our phones and cameras to get a new shot of the city. (Guess foodies might have to wait for its new restaurant too?)

According to a spokesperson, an opening date for the observation deck–to be operated by the Paris-based Montparnasse 56 Group–has yet to be set, but is likely to happen after Labor Day. As for its name? We can expect that sooner rather than later (i.e. sometime within the next week) as copyright is currently being secured. Ticket prices have also yet to be determined. In the mean time though, we can look forward to the groundbreaking ceremony, which will take place late next month and count Mayor Nutter as an attendee.

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Morning Headlines: Plans Still Unclear for Temple University’s Burk Mansion

Burk Mansion | Google Street View, Sept. 2014

Burk Mansion | Google Street View, Sept. 2014

Could Temple University replace one of the last mansions on North Broad Street with a full-service hotel called The Nest? Hidden City’s Bradley Maule reports that, while plans for the Victorian Italian Renaissance home at Broad and Jefferson at still unclear, the university has no intention of demolishing the building. In fact, it’s quite the opposite:

[Temple University architect Margaret] Carney also indicates that while the mansion is empty, it’s not uncared for. “We’ve invested over a million dollars just to stabilize the roof,” Carney says. “We’ve worked closely with the Historical Commission,” she says, referencing new lights, heating, and ventilation that have also been installed, along with improved landscaping along Broad Street and historically sensitive lanterns on their way.

That’s good news, considering the mansion dating back to 1909 wasn’t listed in Temple’s sweeping master plan, which includes, among other things, an innovative library designed by Snøhetta. Also, as Maule notes, Temple is kind of in the middle of a demolition-driven renaissance, with no less than four university-owned buildings slated to be razed.

Carney said Temple “did not commission” the designs for The Nest and is still searching for the best use for the mansion.

More headlines this way!

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Demo Alert: You Can Now See Inside the Boyd Theatre

The decorated ceiling can be seen from Sansom Street. | Photos: James Jennings

Seen from Sansom Street, the ornate ceilings have been stripped. | Photos: James Jennings

Demo has begun in earnest at the historic Boyd Theatre on the rear of the building on Sansom Street. Crews were on site Thursday afternoon to prep the building and it looks like they broke through the exterior walls this weekend. You can actually get a glimpse of the ornate ceiling of the auditorium as you walk by the building. Read more »

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