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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City House of the Week: The One-Time Gardener’s Cottage at Krisheim Estate

All TREND photos via Elfant Wissahickon-Chestnut Hill

All TREND photos via Elfant Wissahickon-Chestnut Hill

This newly listed property in Chestnut Hill offers plenty of intrigue. On its own, it would be a beautiful property nestled on over two acres of land adjacent to Fairmount Park. But it’s the history behind this place that makes it truly standout.

Chestnut Hill is chockfull of historic homes, thanks in large part to Henry Howard Houston, the one-time director of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and his son-in-law, Dr. George Woodward (you may be familiar with Woodward Homes). The home on Gatehouse Lane was at one time part of a much larger picture, as it was originally built as the gardener’s cottage of the Krisheim Estate (the original gatehouse sold in June). Woodward built it in 1910 as his private family estate, and it famously became a place for him to raise horses, particularly Woodward Arabians. Read more »

Property’s Photo of the Week: Dog Days at Devil’s Pool

A photo posted by NJ | PA | Beyond (@r.zntch) on

With the dog days of summer soon to run off into the sunset, we thought it fitting to feature one of Philadelphia’s best open secrets of the season: Devil’s Pool.

Being that it’s located along the Wissahickon Creek, we must say, it’s one of Philly best kept open secrets because even we didn’t know about it. It’s eternal lure, however, is well-known among those who have dipped into its murky waters on scorching days.

Recently, there were murmurings of its potential closure, with police divers, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and members of Friends of the Wissahickon proposing it be filled in with rocks. The measure would be in response to the sometimes fatal plunges visitors take from atop nearby high-points. Naturally, the idea was derided by some (of course) and, thus far, the city hasn’t voiced any intention of going along with such a plan.

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Farmhouse Friday: Incredible Pond-Front Retreat in Birchrunville

Photo credit: Nina Lea Photography

Photo credit: Nina Lea Photography | Listing with Eve Marberger, BHHS Fox & Roach-Exton

Exquisite in the truest sense of the word, it was a no-brainer when it came to choosing Stoney Ridge Farm for today. A beautiful property parked atop 6.9 acres in Birchrunville, Chester County, the scenic estate features a tree-lined driveway leading to an early 1800s stone colonial home with historically correct additions. Moreover, it’s got a generous offering of manicured gardens and pastures, plus a pond, stone barn and spring house.

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

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Arrivederci! Former Italian Consulate in Rittenhouse Sells in an Instant

All images by TREND via Redfin

All images by TREND via Redfin

Those of you in the market for a 10,000-square-foot (plus) mansion in Rittenhouse upon which to plant your flag are out of luck: the one-time Italian Consulate at 2136 Locust Street has been sold.

Brett Furman, listing agent with Re/Max Classic Realtors in Radnor, tells Property the massive home sold for $3.35 million on August 14. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s $100,000 over the asking price.

“There was overwhelming interest in the property,” said Furman. “We had multiple bids on it … as far as [we] know, the buyer is going to restore it back to its original grandeur.”

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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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Sustainable North Philly Building Named “Project of the Year” by U.S. Green Building Council

Photo courtesy of Wallace Roberts and Todd

Photo credit: Wallace Roberts and Todd

It seems there’s always more that can be done when it comes to efforts intended to make a city more sustainable,  but it goes without saying Philadelphia has really been trying. One development in particular got its due credit earlier this week, we’re happy to report.

On Tuesday the U.S. Green Building Council announced the winners of its LEED for Homes Awards, which recognizes those trailblazing the way for innovation in residential green building. In addition to developers and homebuilders counting as recipients, multi- and single-family residential and affordable housing projects are also considered, according to a press release.

Among this year’s seven winners is the Paseo Verde apartment complex in North Philadelphia, which was crowned “Project of the Year.” The development, which first broke ground next to Temple University Station in February 2012, is a mixed-use, mixed-income building with LEED Platinum certification and consists of 120 rental units, landscaped terraces, green roofs and community service space. Paseo Verde also includes photovoltaic solar panels and energy efficient building envelope and water heating systems, among other sustainable features.

This is the project’s 8th award. Previously, it received the Willard G. Rouse Award for Excellence by the Philadelphia Chapter of the Urban Land Institute; an Honor Award from the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects; and the Regional Excellence Award for the Regional Land Use Project of the Year from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, among others.

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Jaw Dropper of the Week: Divine Lancaster Residence Inside Former Church

All images via Zillow.com

All images via Zillow.com

Rejoice and be glad, our real estate prayers have been answered! Months after spotting that unimaginably cool Bucks County home inside a gothic church building, our search for a similar residence has ended. (For now, anyway.) Formerly a Gothic Revival church erected in 1893, the space has been converted into two very unique loft homes*. This one, our appointed Jaw-Dropper, is the larger of the two.

In keeping with its ecclesiastic roots, the unit vaunts a two-story living area with a cathedral ceiling and overhead church lighting. This along with a hard to miss stained glass window is original to the property and has been restored. Meanwhile, in the midst of all this is a bevy of custom woodwork in the form of mahogany doors, beams, columns and more. The listing notes there’s also a neat two-way mirror, framed and quietly concealing the home’s entertainment system.

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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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