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.”

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Tashan Is Closing


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.

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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, 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.

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


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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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.

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Southstar Lofts: Gaze Upon Carl Dranoff’s Latest Opening

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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Morning Headlines: Carl Dranoff’s One Riverside Gets Urban-Friendly Redesign

carl dranoff one riverside

Rendering of the project via

“A true urban tower,” that’s what Pulitzer-winning architecture critic Inga Saffron has called Carl Dranoff’s redesigned One Riverside project at 25th and Locust. The building, proposed last summer, had originally sparked complaints from locals and Saffron herself.

So what exactly are the differences between the old and new design?

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A Translation of Carl Dranoff’s Main Line Times Editorial

Photo credit: Laura Kicey

Carl Dranoff, above, is a diplomatic guy. Photo credit: Laura Kicey

In response to claims that the project has been opposed by many in the community, Carl Dranoff wrote an editorial for the Main Line Times today, in which he attempted to clarify some aspects of the plan that seem to have been lost in the bickering. Of course, he puts everything quite delicately, but as someone who was once in a PhD program for Translation Studies, I feel qualified to at least attempt a rendering into regular-person talk, i.e., the kind of thing I imagine he says at home, head in hands, when the frustration gets to be too much.

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Morning Headlines: Dranoff’s One Ardmore Place Gets Township Committee Approval


Carl Dranoff’s various Ardmore plans, first proposed more than a decade ago, have caused controversy for almost as long. So it wasn’t surprising that discussion of the residential/retail proposal for Ardmore at last night’s Lower Merion Township Building and Planning Committee meeting was “raucous,” as the Inquirer‘s Carolyn Davis put it. Things devolved into personal sniping, with words like “boorish” and “venomous” being thrown around. (Davis writes that things started getting ugly last week with a string of emails — which, alas, no one leaked to us.) The meeting didn’t end until after 1 a.m.

What’s known among Main Line residents as the “Cricket Lot” project — real name: One Ardmore Place — involves an apartment building with 121 units and roughly 8,000 square feet of street-level retail space fronting Cricket Avenue. Carolyn Davis boils down years of debate:

Critics say the project is too big for its site and neighborhood. Proponents claim it would boost downtown Ardmore by drawing young residents to live in a transit-friendly building near the train station.

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