Post Brothers Bets on Chestnut’s Retail Future (and Walnut’s Too)

This architect's rendering shows what 1520-22 Chestnut might look like once renovations are complete. | Rendering courtesy PH Retail

This architect’s rendering shows what 1520-22 Chestnut might look like once renovations are complete. | Rendering courtesy PH Retail Partners

“We’re bullish on Center City, and anytime we see an opportunity, we’re going to pursue it.”

That statement from Matt Pestronk explains in a nutshell why PH Retail Partners, the commercial real estate affiliate of Post Brothers, just purchased two properties on prime retail blocks west of Broad Street.

One, at the corner of 15th and Walnut streets, consists of three buildings with street-level retail and office space above. Two of the three retail spots are occupied, one by AT&T Mobility and the other by Club Monaco. The third space, whose last long-term tenant was a Puma store, currently has a pop-up tenant occupying the space. The other, a two-story retail building at 1520-22 Chestnut St., has been vacant since a Dollar Tree store closed last fall. Read more »

I. Goldberg Hopes To Stay But Is Prepared to Go

Owner Nana Goldberg says the iconic military surplus/outdoor store will have a future, either at 13th and Chestnut or somewhere else. Photo | Sandy Smith

Owner Nana Goldberg says the iconic military surplus/outdoor store will have a future, either at 13th and Chestnut or somewhere else. Photo | Sandy Smith

The owner of 1300 Chestnut St., once a high-fashion department store for women, is interested in getting more for its money. Pursuant to that, owner PMC Property Group has been shopping the commercial space on its first two floors and its basement to prospective tenants.

The space already has a tenant, however: I. Goldberg, the iconic military surplus store and outdoor outfitter that’s been a Chestnut Street landmark for decades. It landed here when Thomas Jefferson University bought its former location at 902 Chestnut St. in the early 2000s to build a parking garage. Read more »

Warby Parker to Le Bec-Fin Site a Sign That Center City Is Changing

Warby-Parker-AITA

On the surface, Warby Parker opening a new location on Walnut Street isn’t huge news. Sure, having the tech-based eyeglasses startup in town brings in more tax revenue, raises the city’s cool factor, and ups our retail game another notch. But it means a whole lot more than that. It’s a sign that Center City’s retail landscape has changed in a big way.

First of all, it’s going into the old Le Bec-Fin space at 1523 Walnut. For years, Le Bec-Fin was the pinnacle of fine dining in Philadelphia led by legendary chef Georges Perrier. But times change, tastes change, and it finally closed in 2013. Chef Justin Bogle tried to resurrect the space as the more modern Avance but that closed after just 10 months. Read more »

New Life for the Philadelphia Blueprint Company on Chestnut Street

Rendering of 725 Chestnut Street | via Urban Space Development Inc.

Rendering of 725 Chestnut Street | via Urban Space Development Inc.

The 700 block of Chestnut Street is about to see some major changes. Sure, you could point to the 32-story tower proposal at the surface parking lot at 709 Chestnut Street as proof positive, but there are smaller plans in the works that will also have a significant impact.

For starters, the movement to have four architecturally important buildings designated as historic means that the character of the block will remain. (A welcome sight an ever-changing city, as well as for a block that features a garish parking garage at the corner of 8th and Chestnut.) That includes the former Quaker City National Bank Building, as well as a lesser known project that will see four condos (with asking prices over the $1 million mark each) added to the block at 725 Chestnut Street, the former home of the Philadelphia Blueprint Company. Read more »

12-Story AQ Rittenhouse to Open Next Week With Jefferson Outpost, Charter School

A rendering of the project by architect BLT.

A rendering of the project via Aquinas’ website.

Roughly 13 months after the project broke ground, AQ Rittenhouse will officially cut the ribbon and open its doors on Wednesday, May 13. The project from Aquinas Realty Partners transformed the blighted annex of the old YWCA at 2021 Chestnut into a 12-story, 110-unit mixed-use complex that will offer both luxury and market rate rentals. Read more »

Our First Reactions to Philly’s New Forever 21 Store

The shiny new Chestnut Street storefront. | Photo courtesy Forever 21.

The shiny new Chestnut Street storefront. | Photo courtesy Forever 21.

Although Forever 21 is typically deemed “throw-away” or “fast fashion” — ultra-trendy pieces made of low-quality fabrics — I’m an avid shopper of the chain. I’m a college student with a bank account that often dips into the single digits, and the rock-bottom prices work with my paltry clothing budget.

Forever 21 is well-known for its disastrous, messy stores —surely the result of simply having so much merchandise. So when I heard that Philly was getting its own outpost — nestled at 1708 Chestnut Street, just steps away from American Eagle and H&M — I was suspect. Forever 21 stores in the middle of suburbia are usually disorganized; how would  a Forever 21 smack-dab in the middle of bustling Center City fare?

I gave the brand-new store just over a week to sort itself out (I visited the store on opening day, but left within minutes because it was so crowded). I finally ventured back today — right in the middle of the afternoon — to see if it met my high expectations for a city shop, or if it fell short. Here’s what I found. Read more »

Boutique Condo Boasting Rittenhouse and Sunset Views Is Back for $849,000

Images by TREND via Redfin/Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty

Looking to get in on some condo-living near Rittenhouse without forking over a cool million bucks to do so? Unit #1100 at 1737-39 Chestnut Street just hit the market (again) and its 2-bed, 2-bath layout is the perfect size for house hunters, especially for Empty Nesters looking to downsize into some chic city- living.

The unit offers 13 south and west facing windows that offer unobstructed views of the city, including sight lines directly into Rittenhouse Square. Listing agent Patricia Royston tells us that the sellers are “very motivated to sell” and the unit has low condo fees ($663/month).

The eat-in kitchen features custom oak cabinetry with glass doors facing the those lovely windows to allow even more natural light to flow through the space. It’s then topped off with beautiful granite counter tops.

The two spacious bedrooms both have en-suite bathrooms, a major plus, and there’s even an office with custom built-in cabinets.

Originally listing in July for $870,000, the unit is now available for $849,000–so it seems that whole “motivated to sell” thing is true after all.

Read more »

Morning Headlines: Apartments Expected Above Nordstrom Rack on Chestnut Street

Nordstrom-Rack

New retail developments are growing at a good pace in the area and that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon: the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Natalie Kostelni reports that the 10,000-square-foot building at 1700 Chestnut Street has a new owner who intends to convert the property’s top five floors into apartments.

The ground floor of the 8-story structure, you will recall, is now the site of the new Nordstrom Rack. This seems to be a good fit for Pearl Properties because, according to Kostelni, they already own six other properties on Chestnut and “specialize in mixed-use buildings” with ground floor retail. More details from PBJ:

The purchase of 1700 Chestnut will be no different. With Nordstrom Rack already locked in to approximately 40,000 square feet on the first three floors, Pearl plans to develop the top five floors into apartments, according to sources. There is a separate entrance off of 17th Street that will give residents access to that space.

Read more »

Daffy’s Reopens As Nordstrom Rack

Nordstrom-Rack

The line outside Nordstrom Rack on opening day, just before doors opened at 9am. | Photo by Tim Haas.

Discount retailer Daffy’s was in business for 20 years at 1700 Chestnut when it closed in 2012. Before that, the space was occupied by the independently owned department store Bonwit Teller, which I remember, from my childhood, as a wonderland of perfume mist and well-dressed ladies and hard-plastic name tags pinned to gray cardigans. Bonwit’s closed in 1990. A year prior to its closure, the Inquirer’s Susan Warner spoke to Ross Brightwell, who worked with the Chestnut Street Association, about what would happen if Bonwit’s left Chestnut Street.

…[Brightwell] said merchants would try to assure that another high-quality tenant would move into the space being vacated by Bonwit. “It’s very sad,” he said. “When you lose a name like Bonwit Teller, it will just reinforce this perception that Center City Philadelphia is on a downward spiral.”

Read more »

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