Morning Headlines: Blumenfeld in Hot Water Over Dealings at The Met

Philly_Met_Broad_St
It seems like not a week goes by without some news pertaining to Eric Blumenfeld’s march to redevelop North Broad Street. However this time, it’s not about beignets, the Divine Lorraine or even a new apartment building with a fancy water feature. According to the Daily News, a lawsuit has been filed against the developer by Holy Ghost Headquarters Revival Center over control of The Met, a hulking and formerly spectacular opera house Broad and Poplar Streets.

The suit claims that “Blumenfeld misled the Church into relinquishing title to and giving him [Blumenfeld] a controlling interest in the Met.”

The church purchased the property in 1997 for $250,000–saving it from the wrecking ball. It later partnered with Blumenfeld, giving him controlling interest in the property, to help restore the historic building. Only it claims the opposite occurred and the developer wasn’t up front about financial and legal issues, gutted the church and then didn’t restore the property. It seeks to dissolve the “partnership between Blumenfeld and the church, return of the title to the church and damages in excess of $50,000,” according to the Daily News.

Back in July, EB Realty Management said they were kicking around the idea of having a large catering facility (upwards of 20,000 square-feet) in the basement of the building with a separate space for Rev. Hatcher’s Holy Ghost Revival Center. EB Realty Management could not be reached for comment.

Church sues developer over Metropolitan Opera House on N. Broad St. [Daily News] Read more »

Fairmount at Brewerytown’s Roof Deck Has Views, Pool and … a Dog Park?

Here is the view | Courtest: McSpain Properties

Here is the view | Courtest: McSpain Properties

We’ve told you all about the transformation that’s taking place on Girard Avenue in Brewerytown these days. With projects like The Fairmount at Brewerytown, it’s clear that the change is moving northward as well. While the name might be slightly confusing, geographically speaking, the adaptive reuse of a former warehouse at 31st and Master Street is not. Comprised of 162 apartments, the complex will feature a concierge, coffee station, full service gym, bike storage, indoor parking and even cold storage for delivery groceries.

Let’s take a look at the roof deck!

Should 30th Street Station Follow the Lead of D.C.’s Union Station?

Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC

Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC

The revamped West Plaza at one of Philadelphia’s busiest–as a matter of fact, one of the country’s busiest–stations was only a taste of the larger transformation planned for 30th Street Station, as the Inquirer‘s Paul Nussbaum reminds us. Senator Bob Casey, Nussbaum reports, recently pointed to Union Station in Washington D.C. as an example of what 30th Street could be, calling on the upcoming papal visit and Philadelphia’s selection as the next city to hold the Democratic National Convention in 2016 to inspire “new urgency into planners’ visions for it and its University City environs.”

Read more »

Morning Headlines: Construction at the W Hotel Could Start Next Month

This was the scene from February 11 | Photo: James Jennings

This was the scene from February 11 | Photo: James Jennings

You already know that construction crews have been on the scene at 15th and Chestnut for about a month getting it ready for the upcoming W Hotel. Now it seems it’s about to turn a corner. Natalie Kostelni of the Philadelphia Business Journal reports that Tutor Perini Building Corp. has equipment on site and quotes Matt Morgan of Tudor Perini as saying that digging the foundation could start “as early as next month depending on what they find.”

The possible timeline for the project could have moved up as well. The $280 million hotel is reportedly a 36-month build and Jack Ferguson, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, said they’re anticipating the dual-hotel (an upscale W and mid-range Element by Westin) to be delivered in January 2018, which, if it is a 36-month build, would still be ahead of schedule. Kostelni reports the project is anticipated to be completed by October 2017–a three to four month difference.

W Hotel construction has started, completion projected to be in 2017 [Philadelphia Business Journal] Philly schools, 181 Market and drones/demolition!

And So It (Officially) Begins: Groundbreaking Date Set for 500 Walnut

500Walnut-Rendering-new copy
Tom Scannapieco’s next big project is about to take off in earnest at 5th and Walnut as the official groundbreaking date has been set for Thursday, March 12 at 11:30 a.m. You could argue that with $75 million in pre-construction reservations Scannapieco and crew already have in tow, the project has been “official” for quite some time. In case you’re wondering, that’s over half of the 37 units in the building.

The press release for the event tells us the Mayor Michael Nutter will be in attendance to welcome the commencement of construction for the building being touted as Philly’s “most innovative condo tower to date.” In fact, the groundbreaking is being billed as “innovative” as the project itself, featuring never-before-seen renderings, videos and “other exciting glimpses” into the glass needle that will overlook the most historic square mile in America. It won’t be held on site, either. The event will take place at National Museum of American Jewish History at 5th and Market Streets.

Here’s a refresher on the project, which is expected to open in spring 2017: Read more »

Morning Headlines: What’s Going to Happen to the Legendary Blue Horizon?

Photo via Google Street View

Photo via Google Street View

The Legendary Blue Horizon on North Broad Street is back in the news this week as the Philadelphia Historical Commission met to determine what the future holds for the building. PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey reports that developers Mosaic Development Partners and Orens Brothers Real Estate have had plans to demolish the historic boxing hall in favor of a luxury hotel. The problem is that they don’t yet have the funding. Read more »

Penn Unveils Stunning Designs for the Pennovation Center

Rendering via Penn/HWKN

Rendering via Penn/HWKN

If it’s one thing we’ve learned covering the real estate scene in Philly it’s this: don’t sleep on Penn. Why? Because just when you finally start to wrap your head around their the award-winning Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology and get all cozy with the Henry A. Jordan Medical Education Center, they smack you firmly in the face with yet another stunning example of top-notch design. This time it’s for their 58,000 square-foot building in the center of their planned innovation park at 3401 Grays Ferry Avenue.

Penn’s Board of Trustees approved the new designs for the Pennovation Center at the Pennovations Works Site on the Schuylkill River. New York-based architects HWKN (Hollwich Kusher) will “rehabilitate an existing industrial building once used for material-science research,” according to a press release from Penn.

Here’s how Penn describes the new-look building: Read more »

Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing Officially Replaces the Hyatt

Photo via Google Street View.

Photo via Google Street View.


There’s a new Hilton in town. The Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing has officially replaced the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia, according to a press release send out today by Hilton Hotels & Resorts. Though the move was announced last month, the official name and brand of the hotel had not been released.

Renovations will soon follow the rebranding as well. Larry Vitagliano, the hotel’s interim general manager, said in an email: “We are in the beginning of our planning stages. We anticipate that by November, December of this year design plans will be completed with the renovation starting in the first quarter of 2016.” Read more »

Rendering Alert: There’s a Courtyard and Water Feature at Mural Arts Lofts

The former Thaddeus Stevens School on Broad | Photo credit: James Jennings

The former Thaddeus Stevens School on Broad | Photo credit: James Jennings

Oh, wow. We’ve just gotten our hands on the most recent rendering of the planned Mural Arts Lofts (aka, the former Thaddeus Stevens school at Broad and Spring Garden), a 56-unit apartment development, which along with the Divine Lorraine and other projects on North Broad, seems to be paving the way for a potential (and hopefully not so distant?) corridor revitalization. Check it out below!

What’s interesting to note about the newly released rendering is that it contains a courtyard driveway and water feature, elements we hadn’t previously heard of, although EB Realty Management executive director Chris Cordaro told us in an email that “a spectacular courtyard was always in our plans.” Developer Eric Blumenfeld added, “We believe that residential communities are well served by elegant courtyards that give residents a sense of a happy place.”

Blumenfeld’s previous developments, like the Marine Club on South Broad or 640 on North Broad, are an example of this, as he notes they too have been “incorporated a lot of natural materials” and water features.

And so, without further ado, a look at the upcoming Mural Arts Lofts….
Read more »

Morning Headlines: Historic Building for “The Sound of Philadelphia” Sold

Sigma Sound Studios | Image: Google Street View

Sigma Sound Studios | Image: Google Street View

We know all about Carl Dranoff’s plan to convert the former site of Philadelphia International Records into the sky-piercing SLS International Hotel & Residences. Now comes word that the former site of Sigma Sound Studios at 210-14 North 12th Street, the other building where “The Sounds of Philadelphia” was quite literally engineered, has been sold for redevelopment.

According to Natalie Kostelni of the Philadelphia Business Journal, entities under the names 210 North 12th Street Investments L.L.C. and 212 North 12th Street Investments L.L.C purchased the historic building for $1.55 million and plan to convert it into a yet-to-be-determined number of apartments.

The legendary recording studio was founded by Joseph Tarsia in 1968 and went on to produce hits from Billy Joel, Patti Labelle, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The Village People, The Roots and many more hit-makers in its state-of-the-art environment. Back in October, a rare reel of David Bowie’s Young Americans sessions recorded at Sigma in August 1974 was found by Drexel professor Toby Seay. Drexel University inhertied the library of 6,200 master tapes in 2005.

Building that housed Sigma Sound Studios sold, will be converted to apartments [Philadelphia Business Journal] Read more »

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