The 30th Street Station area master plan laid out a fantastic vision of a second downtown for Philadelphia in University City. Only money stands in the way of realizing it, with the public sector as the weakest link. | Rendering by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, courtesy Amtrak
The figure was tossed out rather casually in the course of yesterday’s formal unveiling of the two-years-in-the-making master development plan for the area surrounding 30th Street Station in University City, but it represents the largest single bet yet placed on the future of Philadelphia.
The parties involved — Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, PennDOT, SEPTA, and a slew of elected officials and community groups — have put their chips down on a project that has many moving parts and will play out over the course of decades.
As we’ve seen plans almost as ambitious as this one go up in smoke (anyone here remember River City?), it’s only logical that we should ask what its chances for completion are. Herewith are my own odds for the plan’s key components and the overall chances that the plan will be fully realized sometime in our or our children’s lifetimes. Read more »
The apartments at 1919 Market are ready for occupancy, and the first tenants will occupy them tomorrow. Image | Courtesy LCOR via Neff Associates
When we went on that hard hat tour of the clubhouse level of 1919 Market, we asked the organizer whether we would be able to see any of the apartment floors.
The organizer said we couldn’t.
That may well have been because they were well past the hard-hat stage. Just about all of them, in fact, were ready for move-in.
And now people are moving in. Read more »
A rendering of what the 30th Street Station area should look like by 2050 from the draft district plan
On the heels of Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust announcing their joint plan to redevelop the area just west of 30th Street Station comes a draft plan for the larger area surrounding the station.
The 30th Street Station District Plan is the product of a coalition that includes not only Drexel and Brandywine but also Amtrak, PennDOT and SEPTA. Like Schuylkill Yards, the larger plan envisions a totally new urban core district emerging around Amtrak’s third-busiest intercity railroad station over the next 35 years. Read more »
The as-of-now unfinished clubhouse seating area at 1919 Market. Photos | Sandy Smith
The frame and most of the shell of 1919 Market, the new luxury apartment building being built by Brandywine Realty Trust and LCOR, are complete, and through the windows one can see apartments taking shape. The building looks to be on pace for a previously announced spring completion date.
But not everything looks ship-shape for opening yet, as we learned on a hard hat tour of the clubhouse and pool area on the building’s top floor this past Saturday. The other thing we learned, though, is that residents will enjoy some great views as they lounge beside the pool or use the clubhouse facilities, which look like they too will be spiffy.
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The first phase of the Schuylkill Yards project will include a public square and a redesigned One Drexel Plaza. Image | SHoP Architects and West8
The next big step in the evolution of University City into Philadelphia’s “second downtown” began this afternoon inside a tent next to One Drexel Plaza, where Drexel University President John Fry and Brandywine Realty Trust CEO Gerard Sweeney unveiled the master plan for the new mixed-use “innovation neighborhood” they will create together. They also announced its name: Schuylkill Yards. Read more »
Drexel University is formally announcing the development partner for its “Innovation Neighborhood” at a ceremony taking place right now in University City. According to invitations released yesterday afternoon, that development partner is Brandywine Realty Trust.
Brandywine will serve as the master developer for the 10-acre plot of land Drexel owns next to its campus in University City. The district, intended as a live/work/play environment designed to encourage commercial development of Drexel research, will have up to 5 million square feet of space when built out. Read more »
Brandywine Realty Trust expects to close on the sale of Cira Square this month | Google Street View
Brandywine Realty Trust has sold a large portfolio of properties to an affiliate of Och Ziff Capital Management Group LCC, according to a company release.
The complex deal–worth $398.1 million–includes nearly 4 million square feet of rentable space over 58 “non-core holdings” in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia. It marks the completion of what Brandywine called a “multi-year portfolio repositioning strategy” totaling $1.1 billion.
“The 2015 and early 2016 dispositions provide significant liquidity and results in a portfolio much more focused on urban and town center properties,” said Gerard Sweeney, president and CEO of Brandywine realty Trust, in the statement. “In addition, these transactions significantly increase our financial capacity, reduce debt and provide ample liquidity for our development pipeline.”
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The Residence Inn Tower Bridge in Conshohocken.
Philadelphia-based HHM, formerly known as Hersha Hotel Management, is increasing its portfolio once again by agreeing to buy the Residence Inn Philadelphia Conshohocken for $26.5 million. That’s a cool $193,430 per room key.
The seller is Brandywine Realty Trust which owned 50 percent of the property as part of a joint venture which originally developed the hotel in 2001. The deal closed December 30, 2015. Brandywine netted $6.1 million from the sale.
The all-suite hotel was renovated in 2014 and with a new bar and lounge, as well as an indoor pool, fitness center and outdoor sports court. Read more »
The view from the 24th Floor of the FMC Tower | Image via Albert Lee, @urphillypal on Instagram
We’re taking a decidedly different turn on this week’s installment of Photo of the Week–and for good reason.
As you know, we typically delve into the #PhillyScape tag to grab the beautiful scenes of Philadelphia. Today, we were fortunate enough to be invited to tag along on a sky-high Instameet with Albert Lee (@urphillypal on Instagram), Brandywine Realty Trust (@brandywinerealty) and 20-or-so of Philly’s top Instagrammers to tour the glistening FMC Tower at 30th and Walnut.
You’ve seen what it’s like to be on top of the tower crane at One Riverside. Now, let’s take a trip to the other side of the Schuylkill River, as we climb to the construction site at the 24th floor for a few stunning open-air views of Philly from about 300-feet in the sky.
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The site is bound by Federal and Newton avenues in the north, and 11th Street to the south | Google Street View
Subaru of America will break ground on its new U.S. corporate headquarters next week, as the company officially cements its move from nearby Cherry Hill to the Gateway District on Admiral Wilson Boulevard near Campbell’s Soup Company.
The District is owned by Campbell’s, and the 13-acre swath of the city is being developed by Brandywine Realty Trust. As such, Denise Morrison, President and CEO of Campbell’s Soup Company, and Jerry Sweeney, President and CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust, will join Subaru’s Thomas Doll, Subaru’s President and COO and Mayor Dana Redd in the ceremonial moving of the dirt. We anticipate that shiny shovels and hardhats will be involved.
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