Headlines: Independence Blue Cross Slowly Taking Over Market Street West

Independence Blue Cross will lease office space. | Photo: James Jennings

Independence Blue Cross will lease office space. | Photo: James Jennings

Yesterday’s news was all about the resurgence of Market East, thanks in large part to the massive redevelopment project at The Gallery. Henceforth, it will be known as the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia. Let’s not forget about all the activity on the west side of Market Street.

Natalie Kostelni of the Philadelphia Business Journal reports that Independence Blue Cross will be taking over a sizable chunk of office space at 1900 Market Street, also known as the Stock Exchange building. Brandywine Realty Trust is renovating building, possibly with Read more »

Did Richard Basciano Sell a Market East Parking Garage to Brandywine Realty Trust?

618 Market Street vi Google Street View

618 Market Street vi Google Street View

Two major names on the Philadelphia real estate scene (for very, very different reasons) may have just pulled off a a big time deal near Independence Hall. According to Natalie Kostelni of the Philadelphia Business Journal, Richard Basciano–yes, that Richard Basciano– has sold the property at 618-34 Market Street to Brandywine Realty Trust. Currently, it’s a parking garage with ground-floor retail, including none-other-than Jerry Blavat’s Geater Gold Radio Network as well as a Dunkin’ Donuts and the Suit Corner.

It’s unclear Read more »

Morning Headlines: 68 Transit-Oriented Apartments Coming to Bucks County

The Station at Manayunk, another J.G. Petrucci joint | Image: Station at Manayunk

The Station at Manayunk, another J.G. Petrucci joint | Image: Station at Manayunk

Transit-oriented development isn’t limited to new projects in the city. The Inquirer reports that J.G. Petrucci, a developer out of Asbury, New Jersey, is planning to bring 68 apartment units to the Chalfont train station.

This new project, called the Station at Chalfont, is expected to break ground in the summer and will follow their other transit-oriented sites, including the 149-unit Station at Manayunk, where rents range from $1,447 per month to $1,887 per month.

Cella Luxuria to Expand Southward:

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Morning Headlines: What Will 30th Street Station Look Like in 2040?

30th st station

We already know that our beloved 30th Street Station–yes, we’re still calling it that–is one of the busiest hubs in the nation. But what will it be like in the year 2040? As Jim Saksa of PlanPhilly points out, that’s partially up to you, boss:

The district plan is a joint effort by Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, SEPTA and other stakeholders to create an implementable vision for the 175-acre area surrounding the station.

In the coming months, the team will develop three different scenarios for the district come 2040. Following another round of public feedback and feasibility studies, those three scenarios will be synthesized into a single District Plan, which will be fully implementable the day it’s released (sometime around fall 2016).

So, do you really want to see the rail yards north of 30th Street Station capped and turned into a platform for the next office and residential towers in a confluence of transportation, residential and commercial activity? Then you kind of have to get involved.

In order for the rail yard cap to happen, that land (technically, the air rights above it) needs to be worth enough to justify the tremendous cost of covering it. Just as the development of Hudson Yards is covering the price of putting a lid on the West Side Yard, burying the rail yard would be effectively paid for with the rent from the skyscrapers built on top.

Here’s to get (and stay) involved in the process. You can also take this handy survey to help out even more!

Will plans for 30th St. Station District include capping rail yards? That’s up to you [PlanPhilly]

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The Crane Is Going Up at 1919 Market Right NOW

Watch out for 1919 Market

Watch out for 1919 Market

Name one thing that gets a development nerd (ourselves wholeheartedly included in that category) more excited than a towering crane being installed at a construction site in the city? While renderings may be a close second, the short answer is probably nothing. It means progress and that something soon will rise from that whole in the ground.

Enter 1919 Market, the looooong vacant lot that will see 321 luxury apartments, a ground floor CVS and, let’s not forget, a golf simulator grace the street at the center of the current development boom we’re seeing from the Delaware River all the way into West Philly.

Here’s what we know and also more crane shots with renderings!

Read more »

Glass Tower Starts Construction at 20th and Market

The corner of 20th and Market is going to look at lot different. Full rendering below.

The corner of 20th and Market is going to look at lot different. Full rendering below.

It was more than a year ago when Brandywine Realty Trust announced specific plans for a building that would sit on the lot at 20th and Market Street, next to the Independence Blue Cross building, which recently completed its own street-level renovation. Throughout the day on Friday, there was a lot of activity at 1919 Market Street (the vacant lot’s actual address), with a large construction vehicle making tracks in the dirt as I stared down from my nearby office window 36 stories above. People moved back and forth, industrious as ants. A public announcement had to be coming soon.

Indeed, today the company that was named Developer of the Year by Development Magazine announced that it has formed a joint venture with Berwyn-based real estate company LCOR and the California State Teacher’s Retirement System that will make the 29-story mixed-use building possible. Brandywine will handle retail, which is currently slated to be a ground-floor CVS, and the public parking lot that will accommodate 215 cars. Hunter Roberts Construction will manage the process of building the 455,000-square-foot  tower, which was designed by Barton Partners.

Here’s what we know in terms of details:

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It’s Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for 30th Street Station

30th street station revision

Rendering of the new vision for the area around 30th Street Station via Amtrak.

As first reported by PhillyDeals, Amtrak has announced the members of the team that will, in the next two years, develop the joint master plan for the Drexel-funded development project around 30th Street Station.

The group will be led by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), one of the most influential architecture, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world. They’ll work in partnership with Parsons Brinckerhoff, OLIN, and HR&A Advisors, but be guided by a “coordinating committee” consisting of representatives from (deep breath, now) Amtrak, Drexel, Brandywine Realty Trust, SEPTA, PennDOT, City of Philadelphia, New Jersey Transit, CSX Corporation, Penn, PIDC, Schuylkill River Development Corporation and University City District.

Will there be many meetings? There will be many meetings. (Feel free to send the leftover bowls of candy this way, guys.)

Read more »

Sky Candy: 19 New Renderings of the FMC Tower

FMC Tower rendering

Night falls on the FMC Tower at Cira Centre South, to be completed in 2016. Rendering via Brandywine Realty Trust.

Yesterday was the groundbreaking for the much anticipated FMC Tower at Cira Centre South, a development project from Brandywine Realty. It was, not surprisingly, a who’s who of politicians, academics, architects, media folks, planners, builders, real estate bigwigs, developers, and probably even pigeons that are well-known in their community.

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said to the audience, “I don’t know who’s running the city, ’cause all the important people are here.”

That tidbit came from Hidden City, which offered thorough coverage of the event as well as extensive details about the 49-story, 730-foot building itself, which will be “the skyline’s starting point.”

Now, the renderings:

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Morning Headlines: Pelli’s FMC Tower Breaks Ground Today With Fireworks, Vintage Air Pump, More

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 10.26.05 AM

Today’s groundbreaking for the 690-foot tall, 49-story FMC Tower at Cira South celebrates the start of a construction project that will probably go through 2016. The building — two blocks from 30th Street Station — is being designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects (Cesar Pelli’s firm) with the same aesthetic approach they brought to its nearby sister property, the Cira Centre.

Along with those FMC offices, there’ll be 268 residential apartments, a spa and fitness center, ground-floor retail and restaurants; office space for other occupants, like Penn; and a sky bridge and glass elevator bringing visitors to the elevated Cira Green park.

The groundbreaking is going to be a PR blitz of epic proportions.

Read more »

Tetris on the Cira Centre Tomorrow Night

Cira Centre PongTo kick off this year’s Philly Tech Week, Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust have partnered to bring another mega-size video game, Tetris, to the exterior of the iconic Cira Centre next to Amtrak’s 30th Street Station. It’s too late to enter the lottery for a chance to actually play, but everyone will be able to watch as the game takes over both sides of the angular tower tomorrow evening.

During Tech Week last year, lucky players stationed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art got to play Pong on the north side of the building. That game got into the Guiness Book of World Records for “Largest Architectural Video Game Display”: it utilized 460 already installed LEDs over 59,800 square feet of the tower’s north side. This year’s game is set to top that: players will use both the north and south sides of the building to play simultaneously—against each other or cooperatively—with one set of players stationed at Eakins Oval outside the Art Museum, and the other at Drexel.

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