Kids Get In on the Construction Act at One Ardmore Place

Construction crew members from Harkins Builders were on hand to show off the genuine articles at the One Ardmore Place construction site during Saturday’s “Big Dig” street carnival. | Photos: Ardmore Initiative

The little Bob and Betty the Builders out Ardmore way who have been spending all this time gazing at “Real-Life Monster Construction Equipment for Kids” videos finally got a chance to get up close and personal with their heart’s desire this past Sunday (June 25th), courtesy the Ardmore Initiative.

The youngest members of the hard hat set turned out with their parents in tow that day to enjoy “The Big Dig Construction-Themed Carnival” in the block of Cricket Avenue just south of Lancaster Avenue.

That’s the block on which Dranoff Properties is building One Ardmore Place, the 110-unit mixed-use apartment/retail development that Ardmore officials have been counting on for some time to serve as a spark plug for “The Main Street of the Main Line’s” rejuvenation. Read more »

Carl Dranoff Takes the Wraps Off One Riverside

(Left to right) Planning and Development Director Anne Fadullon, Carl Dranoff, City Council member Kenyatta Johnson (D-2nd District) and Managing Director Mike DeBerardinis cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of One Riverside May 2nd. | Photo: Sandy Smith

(Left to right) Planning and Development Director Anne Fadullon, Carl Dranoff, City Council member Kenyatta Johnson (D-2nd District) and Managing Director Mike DeBerardinis cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of One Riverside May 2nd. | Photo: Sandy Smith

Surrounded by examples from each of the stages of his career as a developer here in Philadelphia, Carl Dranoff officially cut the ribbon on his latest contribution to the Philadelphia skyline, the One Riverside luxury apartment tower, in a ceremony yesterday evening (May 2nd).

Joining him in marking the occasion were the building’s architect, Cecil Baker; officials from the tower’s builder, Intech Construction; and the local officials who helped smooth the project’s path to completion, including Council members Kenyatta Johnson, Mark Squilla and Al Taubenberger and city Managing Director Mike DeBerardinis.

Dranoff’s own assessment of the end result can best be summed up in this sentence from his remarks at the ribbon-cutting: “World-class buildings like this one elevate Philadelphia to a world-class city.” Read more »

Task Force to Revise City Preservation Policy

It may or may not be too late to save these buildings on historic Jewelers' Row, but a task force announced today by Mayor Jim Kenney aims to make it easier to preserve and reuse other historic buildings in the future. | Photo: Oscar Beisert

It may or may not be too late to save these buildings on historic Jewelers’ Row, but a task force announced today by Mayor Jim Kenney aims to make it easier to preserve and reuse other historic buildings in the future. | Photo: Oscar Beisert

Mayor Jim Kenney has appointed a panel of developers, scholars, city officials and preservationists to recommend ways the city can better prevent its historic buildings from falling to the wrecking ball.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this morning that the task force, formally announced today, includes more than 24 members representing all the interests involved in the discussion over preservation. Its charge is to come up with ways to catalog the city’s historic buildings, create incentives for their reuse, and educate the community about the benefits of historic preservation.

The panel both keeps a promise Kenney made during his mayoral campaign and responds to widespread concern in the wake of the loss of such landmarks as the Boyd Theater and the possible loss of others, such as the Jewelers’ Row buildings where Toll Brothers plans to build a condo tower. Read more »

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

tashan-interior10-lrg

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

Royal-Theater-mural-with-2-female-african-american-singers

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.”

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