Pole Position: Light Towers “Appropriate Signal” of North Broad’s Bright Future

Four light masts have risen on North Broad Street between Green Street and Fairmount Avenue. Photos: James Jennings | Rendering: Mark McDonald

Mayor Michael Nutter officially announced the plan that will completely change the look, feel and future of a nearly 2.5 mile stretch of North Broad Street from Hamilton Street to Glenwood Avenue.

The North Broad Streetscape project will see 41 “decorative light towers,” each standing 55-feet tall, introduced to the median of Philly’s main artery. The $8.7 million project is funded by a mix of federal, state and city funds and will look to spur even more investment on North Broad Street.

“As a government, we want do anything we can to support growth and development along this important corridor,” said Mayor Nutter in a press release. “The North Broad Streetscape project will give this area a cohesive look and make it a safer, more inviting place for customers and residents. This project will return North Broad Street to its former glory as a main thoroughfare for our great city.”

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Temple University Plans to Start Demolition at Barton Hall by End of the Week

Temple University Libray | Via Civic Design Review, Temple University, Snohetta, Stantec

Temple University Library | Via Civic Design Review, Temple University, Snohetta, Stantec

Here’s a brief update on the status of Temple University’s upcoming $190 million library project. Patricia Madej of The Temple News talked with Dozie Ibeh, assistant vice president of the university’s Project Delivery Group, and it looks like the end of Barton Hall on Liacouras Walk is near.  “Demolition [of Barton Hall], which will cost about $2.8 million, is expected by the end of the week, with anticipated completion by the end of the year.”

The site will eventually house an impressive library designed by Snøhetta and Stantec. Temple University has been very busy this year, and crews have been removing hazardous material from the building over the summer. The project is scheduled to head before Civic Design Review on September 1 for an information-only presentation.

H/T: Main Campus undergoing a major facelift [The Temple News]

Innovation Plaza to Open This Fall, Include Innovators Walk of Fame

Innovation Plaza, Innovators Walk of Fame rendering | Courtesy of University City Science Center

Innovation Plaza, Innovators Walk of Fame rendering | Courtesy of University City Science Center

Let’s rewind to early summer for a moment. In June, we told you all about the University City Science Center‘s expanding campus: the upcoming apartments, retail, restaurants, office and lab space (of course) and new walkable streets and a public square slated to “give the 14-acre campus a sense of place.” All well and good, right?

Indeed. Now, tack onto that news of one of the many indoor and outdoor gathering spots planned with the expansion opening this fall: Innovation Plaza.

Sited on the walkway along 37th Street between Market and Chestnut, according to a press release, Innovation Plaza will include an Innovators Walk of Fame (rendered above) with free WiFi, chess tables and greenery. Originally launched in 2013, the Walk was conceived from an effort to honor the Science Center’s 50th anniversary and with the idea of highlighting the Greater Philadelphia region’s diverse tradition of discovery and innovation. 

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Development Roundup: PMC Property Group Has Been Busy

One Water Street | Rendering: PMC Property Group, Varenhorst

One Water Street | Rendering: PMC Property Group, Varenhorst

PMC Property Group has been making some noise around the Philadelphia real estate landscape recently. We talked with Jonathan Stavin, PMC’s executive vice president, to catch up on a hand full of their projects from Old City to Logan Square.

Retail Back in Play at One Water Street

Construction is well underway One Water Steet, a 250-unit apartment complex just north of the Ben Franklin Bridge. Stavin said the timeline “remains on schedule” to top off the building by mid-October.  The big news is that there are some major changes coming to the final product.

Stavin confirmed that they’re adding retail inside the building and public art to the site, “in order to address some of the the additional concerns raised by the community.”

Though it’s probably not as architecturally bold as the Bridge project at 2nd and Race, the latest rendering (above) of the project shows more variation in color and textures than the previous iterations. Here’s to hoping to looks great in real life. Leasing is expected to begin “as soon as January,” said Stavin.

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500 Walnut Secures Construction Loan, Sees Big-Time Sales

This is the terrace on the penthouse. | Rendering via 500 Walnut

This is the terrace on the penthouse. | Rendering via 500 Walnut

The classy and glassy high-rise behind Independence Hall has moved yet another step forward. 500 Walnut officially broke ground in March, and construction has been humming along since that time. Now, the project has some major funds to ensure that one of the city’s most anticipated developments is realized.

Commercial Observer reports the Scannapieco Development Corporation officially sealed the deal on a $94.2 million construction loan from Union Labor Life Insurance Company (Ullico) to finance the 500 Walnut project. Ullico also financed the construction at Scannapieco’s first luxury tower, 1706 Rittenhouse.

In May, Ullico announced it would be investing $141 million to jump start construction at the East Market project Ullico and, in a separate announcement, another $87 million in financing for 500 Walnut. The latter became official in early August and will ensure that the project is built with union labor.

With an overall cost of nearly $140 million, 500 Walnut has been one of the most talked about projects in the region. The 26-story glass high-rise will feature 38 luxury condos, but it’s the bi-level penthouse that has become the stuff of legend.

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Three Mega-Projects Slated for Civic Design Review in September

1300 Fairmount | Via Civic Design Review, RAL Development Services, Cope Linder Architects

1300 Fairmount | Via Civic Design Review, RAL Development Services, Cope Linder Architects

Let’s delve a little deeper into some major projects facing the increasingly colorful Civic Design Review process, shall we? The meeting starts at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, September 1 in Room 18-029 at 1515 Arch Street. Three big-time projects go under the microscope, including a repeat visit for one project in Pennsport.

In their 1300 Fairmount proposal, RAL Development looks to bring a massive mixed-use apartment complex, possibly anchored by a grocery store, to the vast vacant lot that wraps the Divine Lorraine. Maryland-based Concordia Group plans to raze the former (and newer part of) Mount Sinai Hospital, once dubbed the Divine Lorraine of South Philadelphia. Finally, Temple University looks to knock down an aging building to make room for a decidedly Scandinavian project designed by starchitects Snøhetta, a Norwegian firm with an eye for the spectacular, and the local firm Stantec.

Alright, let’s get right to it.

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Target Announces Location at 12th and Chestnut

Full page photo

Target will open a store in Midtown Village, the company announced Wednesday night.

The announcement follows last month’s news that the company will build a 21,000-square-foot Target Express — an urban, mini version of its big box stores — at the old Boyd Theatre site on Chestnut Street. Reports at the time said the company was “sniffing around” for a second Center City location. Read more »

iStar Announces Multi-Billion Dollar Waterfront Renewal in Asbury Park

From left clockwise: 1101 Ocean, the Asbury, Monroe | Renderings via Asbury Park Waterfront

From left clockwise: 1101 Ocean, the Asbury, Monroe | Renderings via Asbury Park Waterfront

iStar, real estate investment trust extraordinaire and prospective Jersey Shore dream makers in the making, has embarked on a massive redevelopment plan that is sure to elicit a head-turn or two. Their venture, which involves more than twenty projects all together and will have a multi-billion dollar price tag attached, is to give a 1.25-mile tract of the Asbury Park waterfront in New Jersey a complete restoration and upgrade.

According to a press release, the plan will add 2,100 new homes and 300 hotel rooms to the area, while also working on a series of mixed-use and infrastructure projects intended to restore the town’s shoreline attraction. These developments will include The Asbury, a 110 key boutique hotel; Monroe, a 34-unit luxury condominium; and 1101 Ocean, a, quote, “landmark mixed-use hotel/condominium/retail project” set to be in one of the tallest edifices along the Jersey Shore. Asbury Lanes, a historic bowling and music venue, will also get a refresh.

Joining iStar in their effort are creative lead Anda Andrei, former Director of Design at the Ian Schrager Company; David Bowd, the visionary behind the SALT hotels brand; architects Chad Oppenheim and Gary Handel, among others; and renowned landscape designer Madison Cox. More importantly though, iStar is partnering with several Asbury Park businesses, cultural institutions, entrepreneurs, artists, and community groups to give the renewal an authentic touch.

“Asbury Park has a soul that makes it unique in America,” says Andrei in the press release. “There’s a love for that behind this project.  We’re mining the incredible history and one-of-a-kind character to amplify what’s already here.”

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Rebuffed Old City Project Slips Past Planning Commission

Rendering of 401 Race | Image via Phila.gov

Rendering of 401 Race | Image via Phila.gov

Looks like the would-be “great goddamn building” that Architectural Committee panelist Cecil Baker wanted from Priderock Capital Partners, the developer behind a proposed 216-unit residential complex at 401 Race in Old City, won’t be getting the design changes that would have made it “great” by the committee’s standards.

So, what happened? According to PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey, the Planning Commission voted in favor of recommending the developer’s current plan this past Tuesday. During the meeting, Commission chairman Alan Greenberger said he had no qualms with the height and loading variances Priderock is hoping to get.

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Property Tour: The Artistic Revival of Park Towne Place

Park Towne Place | Photos: Aimco/James Jennings, Renderings: Aimdo

Park Towne Place | Photos: Aimco/James Jennings, Renderings: Aimdo

A friend of mine lived in the North Tower at Park Towne Place during college circa 2007. As someone who was living on the third floor of a tight brownstone on 17th Street up near Temple University, Park Towne was quite a bit different. Sure, the high-rise was kind of dumpy, but my friend had great views, cheap-ish rent and, better still, a great location on the evergreen fields of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. For college kids, it didn’t get much better.

Fast forward 8 years (or so) and, much like like everything else in this city, Park Towne is in the middle of a revival. Purchased by Aimco in 2000, the Denver-based outfit is in the middle of implementing a massive, multi-phase redevelopment project that could be something of a sleeping giant.

When realized, the complex will consist of nearly 1,000 apartments, multiple dog parks, new public green spaces, permanent and rotating art displays, a amenity-packed marketplace and the only restaurant that’s actually on the Parkway in the Museum District.

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