Dual Apartment Buildings at Broad and Callowhill on Track for Groundbreaking

Here's the one building at 339 North Broad Street | Rendering: Hanover

Here’s the one building at 339 North Broad Street | Rendering: Hanover

It’s been well over a year since we’ve checked in on the two mammoth lots that encompass the the southeast and southwest corners of North Broad and Callowhill. So long, in fact, that even we began to ask, is this project still alive?

As it turns out, the answer is yes. Parkway Corporation owns the land and has partnered with The Hanover Company out of Houston, Texas to develop both parcels. The mixed-use project will include 339 apartments, between 15,000- and 16,000-square-feet over four corners of ground floor retail and 370 parking spaces. Joe Zuritsky, chairman and CEO of Parkway Corporation, told Property that the team could break ground on the project as soon as the end of the year.  “It’ll be a fantastic beginning of North Broad Street,” said Zuritsky, about the two large undeveloped plots south of Spring Garden Street. Read more »

Bynum Brothers Opening on North Broad

600-n-broad-liquor-licenseAn orange liquor license application spotted at the former Route 6 has revealed that Robert and Benjamin Bynum are opening a restaurant at the corner of Broad and Mt. Vernon Streets. The Bynums previously owned Zanzibar Blue in the basement of the Bellevue years ago. The new restaurant will feature Southern food and live jazz. But when I spoke with partner Harry Hayman earlier, he explained it will certainly not be a return of Zanzibar.

The plan is to feature national jazz acts, grabbing headliners who might be performing in New York to come down to Philadelphia during the week. The restaurant will highlight bourbons with more than a hundred available, including some on tap.

For food, the Bynums and Hayman will be heading to Charleston later this month for some reconnaissance. They plan to hit more than ten restaurants while they are there. A second trip will take them to Savannah. Nice gig if you can get it.

This isn’t the first time the Bynums have considered North Broad. Just about a year ago, we spotted them checking out the Divine Lorraine along with chef Al Paris.

The Bynum brothers also operate Warmdaddy’s in South Philadelphia and Heirloom and Paris Bistro in Chestnut Hill.

With the good bones of Route 6, they’re hoping to open before the end of the year.

Rendering Alert: There’s a Courtyard and Water Feature at Mural Arts Lofts

The former Thaddeus Stevens School on Broad | Photo credit: James Jennings

The former Thaddeus Stevens School on Broad | Photo credit: James Jennings

Oh, wow. We’ve just gotten our hands on the most recent rendering of the planned Mural Arts Lofts (aka, the former Thaddeus Stevens school at Broad and Spring Garden), a 56-unit apartment development, which along with the Divine Lorraine and other projects on North Broad, seems to be paving the way for a potential (and hopefully not so distant?) corridor revitalization. Check it out below!

What’s interesting to note about the newly released rendering is that it contains a courtyard driveway and water feature, elements we hadn’t previously heard of, although EB Realty Management executive director Chris Cordaro told us in an email that “a spectacular courtyard was always in our plans.” Developer Eric Blumenfeld added, “We believe that residential communities are well served by elegant courtyards that give residents a sense of a happy place.”

Blumenfeld’s previous developments, like the Marine Club on South Broad or 640 on North Broad, are an example of this, as he notes they too have been “incorporated a lot of natural materials” and water features.

And so, without further ado, a look at the upcoming Mural Arts Lofts….
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Morning Headlines: Former William Penn High on North Broad to Be Demolished

Image via Google Street View

Image via Google Street View

While a specific project has yet to rear its head, the former William Penn High School building on North Broad, a structure that’s been vacant since its closing in 2011, is closer to being demolished to make room for a new construction by Temple University.

NewsWorks’ Bill Hangley reports the Philadelphia Planning Commission has granted Temple permission to raze the site, which the university bought last year, while also approving the school’s planned library and additional buildings.

What awaits the property post demolition is anyone’s guess as “there’s still a lot of talk”, according to Tom McCreesh, Temple’s director of facilities. However, Hangley writes that Temple spokesman Ray Beltzer confirmed the school would “use the new building to house some community job-training programs – part of a plan that was first discussed when Temple bought the William Penn campus last year.” So no, this won’t be the site of Temple’s long-rumored football stadium.

Read more »

Little Bit of New Orleans Is Coming to North Broad

Beignets on North Broad.

Beignets on North Broad.

James Jennings, the new editor of our sibling blog, Property has the details on Eric Blumenfeld’s newest North Broad project, the Studebaker Building at 667 N Broad Street. Currently, it’s the home of Stephen Starr’s catering operation and when the project is completed, that will still be the case, but there will also be a bit of New Orleans in the building.

Serial Creole restaurateur, John Mims will be opening two establishments in the building. Tremé will be a live music venue with a 75-seat bar area and 50-seat fine-dining room. Mims, who owns Carmine’s Act 2 in Narberth last cooked in Philadelphia at Les Bons Temps on 12th Street. That partnership didn’t work out and he is excited to get back into the city proper.

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Changes on the Way to Stephen Starr’s Commissary Building on North Broad

EBRM's Studebaker Building project. Photo: James Jennings

EBRM’s Studebaker Building project. Photo: James Jennings

Another day, another development on North Broad Street that involves developer Eric Blumenfeld. No, it’s not about Mural Arts Lofts, the Divine Lorraine Hotel project or even The Met. This time EB Realty Management (EBRM) has their collective sights set on the multi-color building at 667 North Broad Street, the home of Stephen Starr’s commissary.

Chris Cordaro, Executive Director with EBRM said plans to redevelop the building are “in our pipeline” and the site has “very developable space.” In a project they’re calling the Studebaker Building–Cordaro tells us it was formerly a showroom back in the day–plans are to keep Stephen Starr’s commissary in place and expand his office and storage space. 20 apartment units will be added to the building and the site will be anchored by three commercial tenants.

How does New Orleans factor into this?

Alla Spina to Turn into Club Vetri for NYE


Here’s hoping Alla Spina’s North Philly Sausage Cheesesteak is available latenight.

On New Year’s Eve Alla Spina is transforming itself into “Club Vetri.” There will be a DJ, dancing, a photo booth and as importantly, food stations featuring dishes from all of the Vetri Family restaurants (Vetri, Amis, Osteria, Pizzeria Vetri, Lo Spiedo and of course Alla Spina). Tickets start at $120 and rise as we get closer to New Year’s Eve.

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Law Firm: Divine Lorraine Developer Eric Blumenfeld Owes Us Nearly $750K


A law firm alleges that Eric Blumenfeld owes $120,000 for services rendered in relation to his development of the Divine Lorraine, pictured above in a rendering commissioned by his company.

Update: 8/15/14 3:35PM: Blumenfeld called us yesterday evening to say, “That matter has been resolved.” Today a firm spokesperson told us, “Stradley Ronon Chairman Bill Sasso and Eric Blumenfeld have reached a verbal settlement on the matter that will be committed to writing in the very near future.”

The law firm of Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young LLP has filed a suit (embedded below) against Eric Blumenfeld’s EB Realty Management Corp. The complaint alleges that Blumenfeld hired the firm in March 2012 to advise him in various real estate matters, including the Abbotts Square condo complex; the Stutz Building, where Stephen Starr’s catering empire resides; and the following development projects:

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Divine Lorraine Will Have a Restaurant and Speakeasy

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

It really seems like the Divine Lorraine will get redeveloped. Developer Eric Blumenfeld has purchased the building for a second time and he has the funding in place to start renovations. KYW’s Hadas Kuznits accompanied Blumenfeld on a tour of the Grand Old Lady of North Broad this week. During the tour, Blumenfeld mentioned that he is aiming to bring in a high-end restaurant as well as a subterranean speakeasy to the Divine Lorraine. 

Guess who we spotted in front »

Video: The Latest Look Inside the Divine Lorraine

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Oh, ye of little faith. That’s probably what developer Eric Blumenfeld wants to tell every naysayer who laughed when he bought the Divine Lorraine for the second time with dreams of turning it into a school or apartment complex. Now Blumenfeld has the funding to start renovations in about two months, according to his interview with KYW NewsRadio’s Hadas Kuznits, which draws out more of the story. Kuznits has also posted a number of YouTube videos in which she and Blumenfeld tour the site as it stands today. Last chance, most likely, to see it in its decrepit form.

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