Urban Land Institute Honors Five Amazing Philly Projects with Willard G. Rouse Awards

FringeArts project by Wallace, Roberts & Todd | Photo credit: Halkin Mason Photography

FringeArts project by Wallace, Roberts & Todd | Photo credit: Halkin Mason Photography

Back in 2014, the Urban Land Institute in Philadelphia had its first Willard G. “Bill” Rouse III Awards for Excellence, a prize ceremony intent on recognizing the area’s best real estate projects within the last five years. This week, the organization held its second annual award ceremony, which resulted in wins for five Philadelphia applicants and two from Allentown and Norristown. They are as follows, per the press release:

  • 3737 Science Center (Philadelphia) — $119 million venture between the University City Science Center and Wexford Science + Technology. 13-story, 334,000-square-foot facility for clinical, research, and office programs on a former brownfields site. Supports STEM/STEAM initiatives for low-income secondary school students. (They seem to make a good team, don’t they?)
  • Allentown Arena Complex (Allentown) — Multipurpose arena and entertainment complex with mixed-use commercial development and within “a pedestrian-oriented infill site incorporating two historic buildings.” The development has served as a catalyst for adjacent new residential and commercial redevelopment and has enhanced Allentown’s image.
  • Chestnut Square (Philadelphia) — $100.7 million mixed-use development at Drexel University. Two 8-story buildings with attached 19-story residential tower with luxury amenities. Creative partnership allowed developer “to achieve the University’s mission while limiting its balance sheet exposure, and the use of efficient building systems and materials is significant.”
  • FringeArts (Philadelphia) — Semi-abandoned historic pumping station near the Ben Franklin Bridge adaptively reused into a premier venue for the Fringe Festival. Includes 15,500-square-foot performance space, 225-square-foot black-box theater, rehearsal studio, office, gastro-pub, and outdoor plaza with picnic-style outdoor dining. Pictured above.
  • The View at Montgomery (Philadelphia) — 14-story student housing building at Temple University’s main campus. Designed by Wallace, Roberts and Todd, it features 238 units, street-level retail, and sustainable storm water management and immersive recycling. Student amenities include study and computer lounges, fitness pavilion, two acres of green space, and street-level restaurant sourcing environmentally-friendly ingredients.

As for the the two other 2015 winners, we had the opportunity to speak with them and got a first-hand look at how their respective projects were shaped and the subsequent effects on their neighborhoods.

“We approached it from three different directions,” says Stacey Humphreys Blankin, an Associate at Strada Architecture, the firm recruited by the Food Trust to help with their Fresh Corner Store Showcase Conversions pilot project. The program had for its goal the conversion of five corner stores in challenged neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia into safe, accessible, and health-promoting spaces.

Read more »

CoZara Celebrates Sake with Four-Course Dinner


Drunken Zama sake

Looks like Japan celebrates made up food and drink holidays too. Tomorrow, October 1st is National Sake Day in Japan, so if you needed any more of an excuse to indulge in sushi or sake, here’s the go-ahead.

CoZara is hosting a four-course, $35 dinner from 5 p.m. until close in honor of the Japanese holiday. The University City izakaya will welcome Nanbu Bijin Sake to pair with the dishes. Nanbu Bijin is the company that produces Zama private label sake, “Drunken Zama.” 

Check out the special menu »

CoZara Serves Sushi Starting Today

CoZara, located at 33rd and Chestnut Streets on Drexel University’s campus has added a sushi, maki and sashimi menu available for lunch and dinner. The additions are a concession to the izakayas original concept. When CoZara opened, the restaurant focused on small plates, kushi, rice and noodle dishes. Chef/owner Zama Tanaka admitted, “once people hear that we serve Japanese food, they have been coming to us looking for sushi.”

Check out the full new menu below. But first, here’s a pretty picture of said sushi:


Drexel Dragon Roll and the UPenn Roll.

Sushi menu » 

CoZara Will Be an Izakaya


The Daily Pennsylvanian has the latest on the upcoming CoZara project from Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka. The bi-level space at 3200 Chestnut will be an izakaya, focusing on Japanese pub food and drink. On the food side, expect to see dumplings, buckwheat noodles, ramen and yakitori. For drinks, CoZara will offer sake, sake cocktails plus local and Japanese beers.

The project has seen some delays and is now aiming to open in late January.

New Japanese restaurant will offer pub style atmosphere [Daily Pennsylvanian]
CoZara [Foobooz]

Joe Coffee Open and Serving Talula’s Daily Bites


Great news for caffeine addicts and returning students in University City: Joe Coffee officially opened its new location on Drexel’s campus. “Joe Chestnut” is the first business to open in Drexel’s Chestnut Square complex, though Shake Shack is getting close.

In addition to Joe brand coffee, the bi-level shop is offering local food coming from Aimee Olexy’s Talula’s Daily, pastries, muffins, scones and cookies arriving every day from the flagship Ovenly bakery in Brooklyn.

Talula’s Daily offerings » 

Back to School in University City


The best part of going back to school is seeing your friends again and hearing about what they did this summer. And if you consider University City a friend, you’ll be excited to hear what happened over the summer to the neighborhood as new restaurants have opened and even more will swing open their doors this fall.

What, you didn’t know one University City campus is getting a Shake Shack put in right by the school cafeteria? And did you see that Irish bar take over space in the Left Bank? Did you hear about the anniversary discount happy hour at one of University City’s finest Mexican restaurants? No?

Catch up with look at what’s new, what’s opening soon and what events are coming up in the land of Penn and Drexel.

What’s new, what’s coming to University City » 

New York’s Joe Coffee Set to Add to Philadelphia’s Coffee Scene


New York based coffee purveyor Joe will open its first non-New York location overlooking Rittenhouse Square on Tuesday, April 2nd. Proprietor Jonathan Rubinstein says “we always knew that if we took Joe outside of New York City, we wanted to come to Philadelphia. When the opportunity to open overlooking Rittenhouse Square presented itself, we jumped at it.”

More on Joe Coffee » 

It’s a Pizza Craze All Over Philadelphia


Just this month we’ve had Bufad officially open, plus the announcement of Pizzeria Vetri and Kermit’s Bake Shop. Then we discovered that Tria was getting into pizza with Tria Taproom on Walnut Street.

Yesterday Michael Klein reported that part of Kings Oak has been carved off and turned into Pizza Bar. Today, the news is that Zavino is going into the Chestnut Square complex at 3200 Chestnut Street right along side Shake Shack, Zama and Joe Coffee.

Up next should be Joe Beddia’s Pizzeria Beddia on East Girard Avenue in Fishtown which was aiming for late February last time we checked. It might be time for a new pizza package.

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