The Pieces Fall Into Place on Market Street East

East Market is intended to be the linchpin of the transformation of Market East. Its developer and the two others that have placed the biggest bets on the street’s future delivered a progress report to Central Philadelphia Development Corporation members this morning. | Rendering: BLT Architects via National Real Estate Development

This morning’s announcement that AMC will bring an eight-screen deluxe cinema to Fashion District Philadelphia is merely the latest piece of evidence that a virtuous cycle of renewal may finally be coming to Market Street East.

It’s also the latest element in a transformation that’s ushering in what Center City District Executive Director Paul Levy termed “the fifth phase” of Market East’s history.

The audience at today’s Central Philadelphia Development Corporation quarterly meeting at the Union League got an update on how that circle is being formed from the three developers responsible for getting the thing rolling: Mark Merlini, partner at Brickstone Realty; Daniel Killinger, managing director of National Real Estate Development, and Joseph F. Coradino, chief executive officer at PREIT. They also got a rundown on the progress each is making in finding tenants for their developments. Read more »

Why T.J. Maxx Is Just Right for East Market

Move over, Market Street Marshalls. A new discount retailer is moving to that part of town.

The Inquirer reported this week that a new T.J. Maxx will open its doors in Philly in the coming months as part of the highly-anticipated East Market development, which runs from Market to Chestnut and from 11th Street to 12th . Both parent company TJX, which also owns HomeGoods and Marshalls, and developer National Real Estate Development have yet to make an official announcement.

Sources close to the project told the publication that the store will join other tenants that have already locked in a space at the 4.3-acre development. That’s Mom’s Organic Market (which opened Friday morning), Wawa (to open in 2018), Iron Hill Brewery (coming spring 2018), and City Fitness (slated to open spring/summer 2018). Read more »

Wawa Coming to East Market

Architect’s rendering of Ludlow tower with Wawa on ground floor: BLT Architects via National Real Estate Development

Remember when Wawa stores were thick on the ground all over Center City and adjacent neighborhoods?

Looks like they will be once again, for this morning, in a news conference fueled by plenty of free Wawa coffee, officials at National Real Estate Development (National Development) announced their latest tenant signing for the retail portion of the East Market project: a Wawa store to go on the 12th and Market corner.

“We are delighted that Wawa, one of the most beloved brands in our region, will be our next partner in reshaping the East Market neighborhood,” Daniel Killinger, National Development’s managing director, said in a news release. “Together, with all of our tenants, we are creating a dynamic urban neighborhood, transforming Market Street with active ground floor retail tenants. Wawa is a perfect anchor for East Market on Market Street.” Read more »

Second East Market Apartment Tower Echoes a Grande Dame

Partial view of the second apartment tower at East Market. | Rendering: Morris Adjami via National Real Estate Development LLC

Partial view of the second apartment tower at East Market. | Rendering: Morris Adjmi Architects and BLT Architects via National Real Estate Development LLC

National Real Estate Development, LLC (NRED), the union-affiliated development firm that’s behind the East Market mixed-use development, yesterday announced that it had closed on a $57 million loan from Wells Fargo that will allow work to commence on the project’s second apartment tower.

Designed by architect Morris Adjmi in collaboration with project architect BLTa, the new tower is dramatically different in style from the first tower now under way at 11th and Market streets.

Yet it should strike a familiar chord with everyone who sees it. Read more »

CCD Report: Millennials Help Spur Strong Retail Growth

National and international retailers like Uniqlo have created positive buzz and helped turn around Chestnut Street's fortunes, but independent local retailers remain the backbone of Center City's increasingly strong retail scene. | Photo: M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

National and international retailers like Uniqlo have created positive buzz and helped turn around Chestnut Street’s fortunes, but independent local retailers remain the backbone of Center City’s increasingly strong retail scene. | Photo: M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Just as the influx of new residents into Center City ultimately overflowed its confines, the retailers and restaurateurs that are rushing to serve them are finding they need to expand their horizons in order to find suitable space.

That’s one of the main takeaways from “Center City Reports: Philadelphia Retail” (PDF), the latest in a series of periodic reports by the Center City District and the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation, issued yesterday (Dec. 5). Read more »

Hard Hat Tour: East Market’s First Building

The future home of the area's second, and Center City's first, MOM's Organic Market is almost complete. | Photos: Sandy Smith except where indicated

The future home of the area’s second, and Center City’s first, MOM’s Organic Market is almost complete. | Photos: Sandy Smith except where indicated

MOM is getting ready to welcome her neighbors to East Market come this fall.

That’s MOM as in “MOM’s Organic Market,” the first tenant signed for the mixed-use development that will, when complete, occupy the entire block bounded by 11th, 12th, Market and Chestnut streets. Its space on the street level of 34 S. 11th St. is closing in on completion, and work is well under way on getting the insides of the building ready for two more tenants, including a new one developer National Real Estate Development (NRED) announced yesterday (July 13): Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ), a national architectural firm with Pennsylvania roots whose Philadelphia office is currently at 123 South Broad.

NRED used the occasion of the BCJ announcement to invite the media in to take a look around and see how construction is progressing on the first building to be completed as part of the multiphase project. The building, which was once an annex of Snellenburg’s department store and was most recently home to the Philadelphia Family Court, has been given a Modernist factory-like treatment by project architect BLT Architects. Read more »

The Revisit: Does Century 21 Still Live Up to the Hype?

Century 21

The view from the Market Street entrance to Century 21. | Lauren McGrath.

When we got a sneak peek inside Century 21 before it opened in the fall of 2014, we couldn’t get enough of the Gallery’s brand-new, face-lifted megastore. But as so many stores have experienced time after time (ahem, Nordstrom Rack), it ain’t easy out there for an off-price retailer in the middle of the city. Call us cynics, but we worried about the state in which we’d find all that Chloé and Saint Laurent after all this time. High-brow doesn’t generally mix well with clutter.

I made my way down Market Street fueled by La Colombe and a burning desire to see the real state of affairs at Century 21, its grand-opening luster long gone. I had visions of gorgeous beaded Valentino platforms smushed on a shoe shelf next to patent leather Jessica Simpson heels and clothing racks in disarray. Braced for the worst, I dove in. Here’s what I found:

East Market: Hub of a New Design District?

Architect's rendering of the new Design Within Reach showroom at Market East

Architect’s cutaway rendering of the new Design Within Reach showroom at East Market | Image from D Form A (DFA)

An interior designer I recently had the pleasure to meet hails from Italy but has resided in the United States for well over a decade now. Nonetheless, one aspect of American urban commerce mystifies him: the tendency for similar businesses to cluster in identifiable districts in our large cities.

Apparently, there’s no Garment District in Milan, no Jewelers’ Row in Rome. That’s actually a shame if true, for districts like these offer distinct advantages for both merchants and shoppers alike. For shoppers, these clusters provided an easy means of comparison shopping long before the Internet came along. Merchants were assured more of the people passing their stores were interested in what they had to sell. And the businesses could more easily gain knowledge and trade insights with one another while keeping up the competition.

Both Jewelers’ Row in Center City and Fabric Row on South Fourth Street have survived for more than a century because of these advantages. Now it looks like a new trade hub is about to join them. Read more »

Rejoice! Design Within Reach Is Reopening in East Market

Design Within Reach Re-Opening

A rendering of the new interior. | Image via D Form A (DFA).

Retail news alert: The up-and-coming East Market shopping corridor is welcoming a new addition to its lineup of tenants, and this one is seriously good. Luxury furniture and accessories studio Design Within Reach is returning to Philly after a six-year hiatus and will bring some major clientele to the developing retail corridor at East Market.  Read more »

East Market Inks Design Center, Closes $38.5M Construction Loan

A view of 34 South 11th Street | Via Nation Real Estate Developer, BLTa, Morris Adjmi

A view of 34 South 11th Street | Via Nation Real Estate Developers, BLTa, Morris Adjmi

Things are really rolling at the East Market project at 11th and Market, specifically inside the building at 34 South 11th Street. National Real Estate Development and SSH Real Estate announced yesterday that they’ve inked a deal with the Design Center, a major resource for interior design professionals throughout the region, to lease 48,000-square-feet of space over two floors inside what was the Family Court building.

The group also announced that they have secured a $38.5 million construction loan with Wells Fargo to “fund the continued renovation” of 34 South 11th Street.

This news follows on the heels that MOM’s Organic Market will anchor the ground floor retail space at the site and, according to the press release, the Design Center is already looking to grow:

Read more »

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