AQ Rittenhouse Breaks Ground Tomorrow

A rendering of the project by architect BLT.

A rendering of the project via Aquinas’ website.

Aquinas Realty plans to break ground tomorrow on AQ Rittenhouse, a 12-story mixed-use building at 2021 Chestnut. There’ll be restaurant/retail space on the first floor and 110 residential units, with plenty of amenities: a sky terrace, secure covered parking, a fitness center and a “dog washing room.”

The previous building on the site, the YWCA annex, had been vacant since the early 1990s and was seriously blighted by the time it was torn down to make room for something new.

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Michael Ryan to Sell Mercantile Library: Photos, Renderings Galore

The Mercantile Library at 1021 Chestnut, as seen in 1964. Photo courtesy MSC.

The Mercantile Library at 1021 Chestnut, as seen in 1964. Photo courtesy MSC.

It’s no surprise that architect Michael Ryan would have purchased the Mercantile Library at 1021 Chestnut; built in 1952 by Martin, Stewart & Noble, the building is a classic example of modern architecture — an aesthetic close to Ryan’s heart, and that of his design partner Randee Spelkoman. Originally, the pair planned a complete restoration of the space (the library closed in the late ’80s and has been vacant since) to serve as the firm’s offices and a street-level showroom for the furniture design they do.

But Ryan has now put the building — which is on the on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places — up for sale with Michael Salove Company. “The decision came out of analyzing what was best for my firm. It’s a positive kind of decision for us.” It’s not the right investment to move the firm forward, says Ryan, and he isn’t worried that the next owner will pay insufficient attention to the building’s mid-century legacy. “It’s such a strong building,” he says. “It can withstand a lot.”

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Scientologists’ Disregard of Philadelphia Architectural Treasure Goes International

scientology building

The building in question, via Google Street View, once owned by Tony Goldman.

The building owned by the Church of Scientology at 1312-1314 Chestnut – 57,720 square feet on a 38′ x 103′ lot — was originally home to the Cunningham Piano Company. The company was founded in the late 19th century at 11th and Chestnut when, according to Hidden City, Chestnut Street East was known as Piano Row. But the company outgrew its beginnings, and bought the double-mansion Irwin Estate for an eventual transformation into a 15-story tower designed by Andrew J. Sauer.

Writing for HC, the ever illuminating Grojlart called the building a “damn near a religious experience” for him and said Sauer’s firm “knocked it out of the park” with its “beautiful slender facade from top to bottom.”

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Retail Report: Uniqlo to Open on Chestnut Street in May


Our sister site Shoppist has more details of what we first reported back in August: Uniqlo, which is basically the Japanese H&M, is definitely coming to 1608 Chestnut Street, the four-floor building once home to the Art Institute and Filene’s Basement (though not simultaneously). Sounds like Michael Salove Company handled the sale, which is a shame for Fameco as it seems they were also vying to handle Uniqlo’s business. Putting brokerage competition aside, we’re just happy to see more big-time retail on Chestnut.

Commonwealth Proper Menswear Has a New Chestnut Street Showroom

Photo by Andrew Bonacci

Photo by Andrew Bonacci

Welcome to Chestnut Street, Commonwealth Proper! Philadelphia Wedding tipped us off to the fact that the local menswear store founded by attorney Craig von Schroeder has moved from its former location at 1732 Spruce Street to 1839 Chestnut (though the entrance is actually on 19th).

Now on the second floor, the new digs are a fine fit for the sophisticated clothing brand. Exposed ductwork, dark blue walls, and white crown molding surround the 2,000-square-foot space for an industrial cool and sleek effect. Designed by Rhonda Clark Carlson of the RCC Design Group, Commonwealth Proper’s crisp new space includes two fitting rooms, two offices, and design and fabric inventory rooms.

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Sold!: Wendy’s Building at 15th and Chestnut; Will Likely Be Apartments

Chestnut Place

Most Center City Wendy’s patrons probably don’t know that the home of the Baconator has a name, and it is Chestnut Place. The 140,000-square-foot office building at the corner of 15th and Chestnut, anchored on the first floor by Wendy’s, was sold recently for $17.5 million. The seller was a limited partnership led by Peter Soens and Jeffrey Seligsohn, principals of SSH Real Estate, which acquired the building in 2005 for $11.38 million. SSH owns Girard Square, among other assets.

Alterra Property Group bought the building. Alterra also bought the Robert Morris Building, now The Arch, from SSH in 2007.

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