Who’s Building Philly: Carl Dranoff

Carl Dranoff atop his One Riverside condo. | Photo: Jeff Fusco

Carl Dranoff atop his One Riverside condo. | Photo: Jeff Fusco

“Those who succeed over the years can steer their way through choppy waters, and that includes things you can’t control.”

Carl Dranoff, the man who said that, should know. The CEO of Dranoff Properties rode historic preservation to national prominence before a change in the law brought his business to its knees. The lessons he learned from that career setback have informed the rise of his business and his development strategy since then.

“Actually, I’ve had three careers,” said Dranoff. His first was as a garden-variety home builder. The firm he founded in 1975 built single-family tract houses, working principally with Kaufman & Broad, whose South Jersey division he managed. “That was where I cut my teeth on mass production.”

But his first foray into mass-produced suburban single-family tract homes was also his last. Ever since, he has focused on the multifamily market, with an emphasis on urban development. Read more »

Hard Hat Tour: One Riverside

The living room in Unit 412, one of two finished model units at One Riverside. | Photos: Sandy Smith unless otherwise indicated

The living-dining room in Unit 412, one of two finished model units at One Riverside. | Photos: Sandy Smith unless otherwise indicated

The last time we caught up with Carl Dranoff, he was celebrating the topping-off of his One Riverside, the east-bank exclamation point that, along with the all-but-finished FMC Tower at Cira South on the opposite bank, redefine the southern Schuylkill riverfront in Center City.

Last Tuesday (January 3rd), as architects ran down a checklist on a nearly-finished apartment, the proud father showed off his baby with a behind-the-scenes tour that offered glimpses of what the residents can expect when they start moving in in March along with some condos whose fitting out was very much in the early stages.

The tour began in the most-of-the-way-there lobby and proceeded to the fourth floor, where two finished model apartments take full advantage of the building’s clean modern lines and plentiful views. From there, it proceeded to the top floor, where two spectacular penthouses — one a bi-level and the other a nearly full-floor unit — were just beginning to take shape. Read more »

Dranoff Celebrates Topping-Off of One Riverside

The beam guests signed at the ceremony may be purely symbolic, as One Riverside's frame is largely complete, but it symbolizes years of planning and construction as well as the last piece in the transformation of the Schuylkill riverbank from dump to jewel. | Photos: Sandy Smith

The beam guests signed at the ceremony may be purely symbolic, as One Riverside’s frame is largely concrete, but it symbolizes years of planning and construction as well as the completion of last piece in the transformation of the Schuylkill’s east bank from dump to jewel. | Photos: Sandy Smith

As joggers, dog owners, bicyclists, kids and their parents enjoyed the balmy weather down at street level in Schuylkill River Park yesterday evening (May 25), eight floors up, invited guests, local politicians and some very happy future residents basked in the temporary air conditioning as they joined developer Carl Dranoff and architect Cecil Baker at a “park in the sky” for the ceremonial topping-off of Dranoff’s One Riverside apartment tower.

Guests signed a ceremonial beam on their way to the construction lifts and mingled to the music of the Philadelphia String Quartet before and after Dranoff, Baker and the electeds spoke.

In his remarks to the assembled guests, Dranoff showered praise on all the parties involved in bringing the project to fruition. “It took hard work and three years of planning and construction under pretty intense conditions to transform our vision from blueprints into a stunning addition to our skyline.” Read more »

Property Tour: The Skyscraping Residences at Two Liberty Place

You could probably get used to this penthouse view atop Two Liberty Place | Photos: James Jennings

You could probably get used to this penthouse view atop Two Liberty Place | Photos: James Jennings

You know, it’s interesting. With all of the attention being paid to the new condo towers going up around the city, specifically 500 Walnut and One Riverside, it’s kind of incredible that more attention hasn’t been paid to the one that’s right in front of us. As in, the one taking place in the existing gem that is Two Liberty Place, one of Philadelphia’s skyline defining buildings.

In fact, more attention has been paid to the upcoming observation deck at its sister tower, the spire-topped One Liberty place, than this impressive project that will transform a former office space into luxury condos with observation deck-like views from floors 48 through 57.

But the project is more than just about the breathtaking views of the city. “We’ve always been known for great views here,” said Cynthia Tucker, senior vice president with iStar Residential, the development arm of iStar Financial, the project’s owner. “That’s a story everyone knows – the view – but we wanted to redevelop the property to where it wasn’t just about the views. The layout and the finishes are really high end … we wanted to make sure the living spaces were comfortable, peaceful and sort of zen-like.”

Read more »

Tashan Is Closing

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The tandoor ovens will cool after September 7th.

Tashan, the high-end Indian restaurant from Tiffin founder Munish Narula will close after dinner service on Monday, September 7th.

The attractive restaurant opened almost exactly four years ago to excellent reviews but never became the hard-to-get a reservation, must-be-seen-at restaurant that Narula envisioned it would become, and many, including this site practically demanded it be.

Read more »

Ardmore “Cricket Lot” Cleared for Development

Rooftop rendering of One Ardmore Place | Image courtesy of Dranoff Properties.

Rooftop rendering of One Ardmore Place | Image courtesy of Dranoff Properties.

After a settlement with business owners in Ardmore, Lower Merion Township has finally paved the way for Carl Dranoff’s One Ardmore Place project to be developed.

Dranoff will be able to go through with the development, Philly.com reports, of One Ardmore Place on the former Cricket Avenue parking lot, which over the last year has been protested and maligned as harmful to business and not in line with the “character of downtown Ardmore.”

The lawsuit, brought by Ardmore business owners against Lower Merion Township in February 2015, contended that an access road — Haws Terrace — is public land and could not be sold to a private developer. Business owners claimed it was the only way for emergency personnel to reach their businesses in the Cricket parking lot area.

Read more »

Renderings: What South Street’s Historic Royal Theater May Soon Look Like

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As mentioned earlier this morning, PMC Property Group’s proposed 10-story building in Old City isn’t the only big project the city’s Architectural Committee will be reviewing tomorrow. There are several more to be sure, but the only other one with this much–perhaps more–power to tweak the fabric of a neighborhood is Dranoff Properties’ planned Royal Theater redevelopment, which would see everything but the building’s façade razed to make way for a mixed-use development with luxury housing and below-grade parking.

According to Hidden City’s Michael Bixler, the latest plan for the historic structure involves 40 luxury residential units, below-grade garage with 20 parking spaces, and 7,000 square feet of commercial space. Presenting before the Committee will be Dranoff Properties and Universal Community Homes, the latter of who Bixler reports will also go before the Committee of Financial Hardship on June 30th to try to “circumvent the legal protections of the local [historical] register.”

Read more »

Construction Prepping for One Ardmore Place Expected within a Month or So

Rooftop rendering of One Ardmore Place | Image courtesy of Dranoff Properties.

Rooftop rendering of One Ardmore Place | Image courtesy of Dranoff Properties.

One Ardmore Place, which recently had a lawsuit regarding it dismissed, has finally inched closer to reality, as the Main Line Times’ Cheryl Allison reports a construction-prepping date is slated for the next month or so. Let’s hope any opposition against it has waned by the time work starts, as the construction schedule for the mixed-use development calls for 24 months to conclude in spring 2017.

According to Allison, project manager Josh Weingram (also Dranoff’s vice president of development) announced this some days ago during the Ardmore Initiative’s annual leadership breakfast, adding that the first three months of the project would be taken up with utility work and that the Cricket Avenue Lot would still be open for parking, while advancing days will see closures along Cricket Avenue to Cricket Terrace.

Month 4, Allison writes, will see the lot close for excavation work.

One Riverside Gets Roadshow Trolley Tour

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Our coverage of Carl Dranoff’s One Riverside reveals all the amenities the 25th and Locust condo tower is slated to have, but if you’re curious about other features and services, “Dranoff’s One Riverside Road Show” might answer further questions.

The road show will be traveling sales office inside a custom-wrapped trolley powered by the Philadelphia Trolley Works, and will be making its way through the city and suburbs for the duration of September (everywhere “from Abington to Ardmore”). Inside will be sales materials, renderings, and more images of building views.

Read more »

Southstar Lofts: Gaze Upon Carl Dranoff’s Latest Opening

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Carl Dranoff hosted the grand opening for Southstar Lofts on Wednesday, but by then his newest apartment building was already 40 percent spoken-for. “It’s the fastest we’ve ever leased,” he said during a tour of the four-story mid-rise just before the party. And they’ve leased a lot – particularly on the Avenue of the Arts (see: 777 South Broad, Symphony House and the incoming SLS tower), which Dranoff champions as a combination of Michigan Avenue, Park Avenue and Broadway.

Southstar, which broke ground last March, features 85 thoughtfully appointed units and was designed to be a sister property to 777 South Broad. Dranoff says they brought some of 777’s most popular features to Southstar and built upon them. Details like 26-inch-wide sinks in each unit, enormous trash rooms built so that the entire room can be wiped down, and free, full-sized washers and dryers available in addition to your in-unit laundry were imported a few blocks north.

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