It’s now January 3rd, and the holidays are behind us. The city, empty yesterday, has now returned to its usual hustle and bustle. January 1st seems so far away.
Except, of course, for the canoe someone left at 19th and Market streets. Read more »
If you follow us on Twitter (@PropertyPhilly – hit us up!), you know we have a bit of a thing for realtime crane and construction crew photos – and don’t even get us started on concrete pours. But can you blame us? Philly is rising right before our eyes!
As of late, though, Market Street in particular has been abuzz with activity: a newly built-out, mid-century-style La Colombe opened its doors at 6th and Market; upcoming units at a currently being “remodeled elevator building” at 304 Market popped up on Redfin; not to mention, the massive East Market project finally had its foundation poured.
Also recently, Richard Basciano was reported to have sold off his chunk of the 2100 block to Brandywine Realty Trust, the group who may very well have inspired this surge on Market in the first place – anyone remember when 1919 Market was a big ole’ patch of “Will-Someone-Please-Do-Something-With-This?”
If you’ve walked past the former Lit Brothers building at 7th and Market at all this past weekend, chances are you spotted what we told you was coming a few months ago: new LED billboards.
The wraparound digital signs are currently being tested, according to the Inquirer, but once permanently set are expected to “ignite a transformation” on the long dwindling commercial corridor via revenue from advertising contracts and the $10 million going into updating nearby public amenities.
• New lights shine over Market East [Inquirer]
It was more than a year ago when Brandywine Realty Trust announced specific plans for a building that would sit on the lot at 20th and Market Street, next to the Independence Blue Cross building, which recently completed its own street-level renovation. Throughout the day on Friday, there was a lot of activity at 1919 Market Street (the vacant lot’s actual address), with a large construction vehicle making tracks in the dirt as I stared down from my nearby office window 36 stories above. People moved back and forth, industrious as ants. A public announcement had to be coming soon.
Indeed, today the company that was named Developer of the Year by Development Magazine announced that it has formed a joint venture with Berwyn-based real estate company LCOR and the California State Teacher’s Retirement System that will make the 29-story mixed-use building possible. Brandywine will handle retail, which is currently slated to be a ground-floor CVS, and the public parking lot that will accommodate 215 cars. Hunter Roberts Construction will manage the process of building the 455,000-square-foot tower, which was designed by Barton Partners.
Here’s what we know in terms of details:
Construction making way for video billboards set to line the roof of the former Lit Bros. building on Market Street has begun. Philly.com’s Maria Panaritis reports $10 million went into the project with an additional $10 million going to updating nearby public amenities.
Investors and other involved parties are aiming for a New Year’s Eve light up as the area has long been a ghost of its retail past. The “stadiumlike, wraparound, LED signs” are expected to encourage redevelopment and bring in revenue, something it has already started doing:
Indeed, advertising contracts for billboards of this nature can be very lucrative. Merlini estimated that annual revenues from the signs to be installed atop the Lits building would be in the “seven figures.”
“We didn’t know what a revenue source it would be until we got into it,” he said, adding that advertisement contracts were already in place.
Here are other unfolding projects…
Philadelphia’s stagnating retail corridor on the east side of Market Street might finally get a major wake-up call, and we’re not talking about the Gallery. Instead, the owners of the drab strip of stores on the block between 11th and 12th have secured new backing from IBEW and National Real Estate Advisors that makes their plans for the block seem like they might finally come to fruition. The stores currently on the 1100 block have been cleared out for demolition in July, to make way for a development named East Market.
Restaurants, entertainment, fashion stores, and even grocers will be included in the new project, but here’s a more elaborate description by the Inquirer’s Joe DiStefano:
The Inquirer has an examination of what people knew and when they knew it before the Hoagie City building collapsed onto the Salvation Army thrift store. This goes to the heart of the matter in terms of culpability, both criminal (civil lawsuits) and moral. It also reemphasizes what we already knew and which Victor Fiorillo wrote about in September: The Salvation Army is not looking good in this whole thing. Some fundamental questions:
– Did the store manager at the Salvation Army know the employees were at risk?
– Did the Salvation Army supervisor of nine stores know the employees were at risk?
– Did the Salvation Army organization know that the demolition was risky enough to merit closing the location while the work continued?
The Salvation Army’s lawyer, Eric A. Weiss, told the Inquirer that the organization had no idea what stage the demo had reached.
At decision-making levels, Weiss said, the charity thought it was still negotiating with its Market Street neighbor over what steps would be taken to shield the shop during demolition when the collapse occurred.
He said the Salvation Army had designated a Harrisburg lawyer to negotiate with the owner of the building being torn down, STB Investments Corp., a company controlled by real estate investor Richard Basciano.
But the Inquirer reported previously that STB warned the organization of the hazards in a series of emails. As it stands now, aside from the criminal charges filed against the demolition contractor and the excavator operator, it seems as though the Salvation Army will bear the brunt of the blame for the loss of life and the injuries suffered. Good thing they’ve got deep pockets.
The Daily News reports today on the deposition of Mariya Plekan, the woman who was trapped under the rubble of the Salvation Army thrift store for 13 hours. By the time she was rescued, her injuries were too severe to save her legs, which had to be amputated. The details she gave are haunting and hard to hear:
Plekan, who said she was conscious for the entire ordeal, recounted how she found a small hole through which she could see light and hear parts of the rescue operation above her.
“They started to move things around, then I had a hope, I had a hope that they will save me shortly. But it didn’t happen,” she said. “I was screaming, ‘Help, help.’ But nobody heard me.”
“I was praying, praying, ‘God, help me,’ so I could be found,” she said.
A search dog tracked her down.
Today Market8, one of the five remaining contenders for Philadelphia’s casino license, announced new endorsements for its project: those of the Philadelphia NAACP; the Urban League of Philadelphia (ULP); the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC); and the African-American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
The endorsements shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, at least coming from ULP and UAC, with whom Market8 worked to create an inclusion strategy to benefit members of the community who are not generally included in the success of such ventures.
The NAACP’s Jerry Mondesire was impressed by the plan: “I don’t know of any other organization doing a major project that has put this much thought into its inclusion plan,” he said, explaining his organization’s endorsement.
It’s the final sale phase of the Murano, the 43-story residential skyscraper designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz and Associates of Chicago. Developed by Thomas Properties and P&A Associates, the Murano saw some tough times during the Great Recession, but the duress is clearly over. Since Oct. 21st, seven units have sold — ranging from $555,000 for a 1,100-square-foot one-bedroom to $1.5 million for a 2,350-square-foot three-bedroom.
Looks like there are still about 20 units left on the market, with garage parking as an option for $35,000.
Here are the photos the building is using to sell the remaining units in the final phase.