Apartments Proposed Atop Ardmore Christian Science Reading Room

The Christian Science Reading Room on Rittenhouse Place in Ardmore would get a two-story apartment building on top under a proposal submitted to Lower Merion's historical review board. | Google Street View image

The Christian Science Reading Room on Rittenhouse Place in Ardmore would get a two-story apartment building on top under a proposal submitted to Lower Merion’s historical review board. | Google Street View image

Developers Chris and Ryan Tobin want to join the parade of builders adding apartments to downtown Ardmore. Their modest proposal, however, would add two stories to a one-story historic building, so it got referred to the Lower Merion Historical Architecture Review Board.

The Main Line Times reports that the board voted to send the developers back to the drawing board to address concerns about the project’s design and its effect on neighboring structures. Read more »

Historical Commission Kicks Jewelers Row Can Down the Road Again

The historic status of the buildings at 704-08 Sansom St. remains up in the air after Friday's Historical Commission meeting. | Photo: Oscar Beisert

The historic status of the buildings at 704-08 Sansom St. remains up in the air after Friday’s Historical Commission meeting. | Photo: Oscar Beisert

After an hour of contentious debate and impassioned pleas from local preservationists, the Philadelphia Historical Commission voted 8-3 to continue postponing a final decision on adding the threatened structures at 704 and 706-08 Sansom Street to the city historic register until the status of Toll Brothers’ demolition permit applications is resolved.

Plan Philly’s report on the commission meeting noted that there was sentiment on the committee as well as among the preservationists who attended to rule on the merits of the applications anyway, even with the demolition permits in dispute. That way, commission Chairman Robert Thomas said, they would be protected should Toll’s demolition permits fall through. Read more »

Owner of Comcast Condos Revealed!

We now know who owns those 45th-floor condos: Comcast's chief honcho.

We now know who owns those 45th-floor condos: Comcast’s chief honcho.

The one thing Natalie Kostelni, the Philadelphia Business Journal’s ace real estate reporter, couldn’t find out when she broke the news (paywall) that the new Comcast Technology Center will have three condominium residences this past Monday was the actual identity of the buyer of the units.

The Philadelphia Inquirer now has that information.

Jacob Adelman reports that the buyer is Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and his wife Aileen.

The report also cites an interview with Comcast Senior Executive Vice President David Cohen, in which he says that the units will be Four Seasons Residences, managed by the Four Seasons Hotel that will occupy the building’s top floors.

But will the Robertses live in one of the condos? Read more »

CDR Panel Gives Toll Jewelers Row Tower a Mixed Review

The CDR panel's advice to Toll's architect: Make up your mind what kind of tower this is supposed to be. | Rendering: SLCE Architects

The CDR panel’s advice to Toll’s architect: Make this building modern or make it neotraditional, but make it one or the other. | Rendering: SLCE Architects

Toll Brothers City Living’s proposal for a 29-story residential tower with ground-floor retail on Jewelers Row went before the design doctors yesterday (February 7th). Their diagnosis: The building suffers from a case of architectural schizophrenia.

Curbed Philly’s report on the Civic Design Review meeting indicates that only one of the members of the CDR panel, developer Leo Addimado, liked the proposed design. But even he urged Toll and project architect SLCE to make the design more frankly modern. Committee members referred to the structure as having split personalities throughout the meeting. Read more »

Former Trump Site Becomes Turnkey Development Opportunity

Aerial view of Pier 35 1/2, looking towards Center City

The ready-to-build development at Pier 35 1/2. | Rendering: Cecil Baker + Partners via Shovel Ready Projects LLC

Attention, developers! Shovel Ready Projects LLC has such a deal for you.

It’s 2.13 acres of prime Delaware waterfront property just north of Delaware Avenue and Spring Garden Street in the Central Waterfront District. Pier 35 1/2, where Donald Trump had announced plans for a high-rise condo tower several years before he became President, is now available as a ready-t0-build 41-unit townhouse development.

Shovel Ready has done all the prep work: preliminary engineering, zoning permits, site acquisition and preparation, and design by noted local starchitects Cecil Baker + Partners. It took them two years and $5.5 million to put it all together.

They’re offering it for $12 million — and, they say, the buyer will make a 40 percent return on investment easily. Read more »

New Comcast Tower to Become Philly’s Second “Vertical Neighborhood”

The Comcast Technology Center, shown here in a skyline rendering, will have residents on its 45th floor.

The Comcast Technology Center, shown here in a skyline rendering, will have residents on its 45th floor.

In addition to 1.33 million square feet of office space, a luxury hotel and street-level retail space, the new Comcast Technology Center now under construction at 18th and Arch streets will have something else:

Full-time permanent residents in three luxury condominium units.

The Philadelphia Business Journal reports (paywall) that public records show developer Liberty Property Trust selling three residential units, identified as “RU-1,” “RU-2” and “RU-3,” to a limited liability corporation, FSP Realty. Read more »

Toll’s Tower Design: An Almost Successful Compromise

The Sansom Street elevation of the proposed Toll Brothers condo tower. | Rendering: SLCE Architects

The Sansom Street elevation of the proposed Toll Brothers condo tower. | Rendering: SLCE Architects

Given that the controversial condo tower Toll Brothers City Living plans to build at the east end of Jewelers Row is a by-right project, it really wasn’t necessary for the company to meet with neighboring building and business owners to discuss its plans. But it did, and given what it was proposing to build and where, the natural question those neighbors, both supporters and opponents, had was: Well, what will the thing look like?

A lot of other people well beyond Washington Square West wanted to know too.

We all got that question answered at last Tuesday’s meeting of the Washington Square West Civic Association Zoning Committee, where representatives of Toll Brothers’ City Living division and the project architect, New York-based SLCE, revealed renderings of the tower.

The result is a good news/bad news story. Read more »

Who’s Building Philly: Rahil Raza

A completed Raza Properties home at 2824 W. Master St. in Brewerytown, currently on the market. | TREND image via Raza Properties

A completed Raza Properties home at 2824 W. Master St. in Brewerytown, currently on the market. | TREND image via Raza Properties

“Workforce housing” is one of the buzzwords du jour in the local development lexicon. Elected officials and builders alike see it as key to shoring up lower-income neighborhoods and ensuring that socioeconomic diversity survives in gentrifying ones.

Rahil Raza, founder and CEO of Raza Properties, grew up in a working-class family and sees his mission as meeting the need for good, affordable housing for Philly’s working class. To date, he has built 47 homes in three neighborhoods with sizable working-class (and lower) populations, Point Breeze, Sharswood and Brewerytown, and he has plans to build even more homes in the latter two neighborhoods. Read more »

Hard Hat Tour: The Lincoln

The Lincoln's lobby is being used as a construction staging area while finishing touches are being put on the apartments. | Photo: Sandy Smith; all other photos: Brandon Morrison via PRDC Properties

The Lincoln’s lobby is being used as a construction staging area while finishing touches are being put on the apartments. | Photo: Sandy Smith; all other photos: Brandon Morrison via PRDC Properties

“Better late than never” might be the best way to describe the nearly complete restoration of The Lincoln, the apartment building at 1222 Locust Street in Washington Square West’s Gayborhood that was seriously damaged in a fire in 2006.

David Perelman bought the onetime hotel-turned-apartment building in 2014, and the company he founded, PRDC Properties, has been rebuilding it for the past year. Even as construction crews were working to finish the lobby and several apartments on our recent tour, new residents are already moving into the building. Read more »

Toll Takes Wraps Off Jewelers Row Tower

The Sansom Street elevation of the proposed Toll Brothers condo tower. | Rendering: SLCE Architects

The Sansom Street elevation of the proposed Toll Brothers condo tower. | Renderings: SLCE Architects

Toll Brothers City Living finally revealed what the condo tower it plans to build in place of three structures on historic Jewelers Row will look like before a packed meeting of the Washington Square West Civic Association Zoning Committee at Thomas Jefferson University last night.

And to the surprise of Toll Brothers City Living Division Vice President Brian Emmons, most of those who attended liked the design produced by SLCE Architects of New York.

That doesn’t mean, however, that everyone liked the building. Several in attendance, most notably a group of residents of the buildings slated to fall, managed to make their displeasure known to the committee, Emmons, and City Councilman Mark Squilla both during and after the meeting. Read more »

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