Cambria Hotel Breaks Ground Before It’s Ground

You can't stick a shovel into a steel plate, but there were shovels all the same at today's ceremonial groundbreaking. The participants: Top row, left to right: Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce CEO Rick Wunderling, DAS Architects Principal David Schultz, Pearl Properties Principal Jim Pearlstein, Choice Hotels Chief Development Officer David Pepper. Bottom row, left to right: DAS Architects Principal Sue Davidson, Visit Philadelphia CEO Meryl Levitz, Choice Hotels CEO Steve Joyce, Pearl Properties Principal Reed Slogoff, Choice Hotels Senior Vice President for Upscale Brands Janice Camron, Choice Hotels Director of Development Guy Gridley. |Photo: Sandy Smith

You can’t stick a shovel into a steel plate, but there were shovels all the same at today’s ceremonial groundbreaking. The participants: Top row, left to right: Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce CEO Rob Wonderling, DAS Architects Principal David Schultz, Pearl Properties Principal Jim Pearlstein, Choice Hotels Chief Development Officer David Pepper. Bottom row, left to right: DAS Architects Principal Sue Davidson, Visit Philadelphia CEO Meryl Levitz, Choice Hotels CEO Steve Joyce, Pearl Properties Principal Reed Slogoff, Choice Hotels Senior Vice President for Upscale Brands Janis Cannon, Choice Hotels Director of Development Guy Gridley. |Photos: Sandy Smith

No actual ground was broken in this morning’s ceremony at the site of the future Cambria Hotel and Suites on the Avenue of the Arts, but it was a groundbreaking event all the same.

Groundbreaking because it marks Cambria parent Choice Hotels’ first venture into the upper end of the Center City Philadelphia market. Its closest previous foray, a mid-range Comfort Inn at Penn’s Landing, changed hands several years ago and is now a Holiday Inn Express. (There are also two franchised Choice affiliates catering to the budget traveler in Center City: a Sleep Inn on Race Street in Chinatown and a Rodeway Inn on Walnut Street in Washington Square West’s Midtown Village/Gayborhood section.)

Choice Hotels executives, the hotel’s developer and its architect, and representatives of the city’s tourism promotion machine all turned out this morning to celebrate the hotel’s impending construction and welcome Choice back into the thick of things. Read more »

Two South Broad Street Projects Up for Design Review

 

Two perspective views of the Cambria Hotel, to be built at Broad and Locust streets. Renderings | DAS Architects

Two perspective views of the Cambria Hotel, to be built at Broad and Locust streets. Renderings | DAS Architects

Mama Angelina’s was a reliably cheap and middle-of-the-road pizza joint at Broad and Locust, the type of eatery that’s steadily vanishing from Center City.

This afternoon, the Civic Design Review Committee will have a look at its replacement: Cambria Hotel & Suites, a 14-story, 222-room hotel from developer Pearl Properties. The project involves demolishing the parking garage on Broad Street, just north of Perch Pub. The garage would be replaced with the hotel tower. The proposal would maintain the scale of the Perch Pub building on the corner; it would also maintain the billboard on top of it. The project is designed by DAS. Read more »

The Beacon to Bring 100 Apartments, Roof Deck and an Under Armour to Walnut Street

The Beacon at 16th and Walnut | Rendering via Pearl Properties and DAS Architects

The Beacon at 16th and Walnut | Rendering via Pearl Properties and DAS Architects

Work is well underway on a major mixed-use project at the corner of 16th and Walnut. As you might recall, Pearl Properties is bringing a 10,000-square-foot Under Armour location to the bustling corner, and we now know what will top the store best known for exuberantly decorated uniforms and athletic gear.

Over the weekend, crews shut down the 1500 block of Walnut Street to install a tall tower crane on the slender site at 1527 Walnut Street, which formerly housed a Lululemon store.

The design from DAS Architects shows a 12-story apartment building–which Pearl has dubbed “The Beacon”– built over top of the Brown Brothers Harriman Co. building at 1529-33 Walnut Street.

James Pearlstein, of Pearl Properties, called the new building “our most ambitious project to date,” and said the it should be completed in 2017.

“The Beacon is designed to highlight Philadelphia’s “old and new,” combining the modern finishes of a newly constructed high-rise while preserving and incorporating the timeless architecture of the six story corner masonry building,” added Pearlstein.

Read more »

Broad Street Garage to be Replaced by ‘Upscale’ Hotel from Choice Hotels?

Corner of Broad and Locust | Photo: James Jennings

Corner of Broad and Locust | Photo: James Jennings

It looks as though Center City is going to have another hotel project on its hands in the not-too-distant future, and it’s front and center on the Avenue of the Arts.

A recent press release from Choice Hotels says it has signed an agreement with “franchise partner Pearl Properties … to develop a new Cambria hotel & suites in Philadelphia, PA.” The planned location? You guessed it (or read the sub-headline), it’s the corner of Broad and Locust, where owner Pearl Properties is in the process of demolishing the former parking garage. The Cambria is set to feature 206 rooms and is expected to be completed in 2017.

Back in August, we put you on to a plumbing permit that signaled the demise of the rundown garage. At the time, a representative from ParkAmerica, its former operator, told us that he had heard the building was to be taken down “brick-by-brick” sometime after Pope Francis left town in September or October. Though a representative from Pearl Properties couldn’t be reached about the project, the press release states it in plain terms, and confirms some rumors we’d been hearing for some time now–yet another hotel is being touted for South Broad Street.

Read more »

Boyd Theatre Project: Will Cecil Baker’s Design Redo Make the Grade?

Boyd Theatre, Chestnut Square, Pearl Properties

The new tower would rise 32-stories above the street | Rendering by Cecil Baker + Partners and Pearl Properties via Philadelphia Historical Commission

It looks as though the long, winding saga of the redevelopment of the Boyd Theatre could soon come to an end. Well, what’s left of the old movie palace at 1910 Chestnut Street anyway.

Pearl Properties has been busy demolishing the structures surrounding the historic Boyd and Alexander Building on Chestnut and 19th streets, respectively, and the developer is set to unveil the final piece of what has become an incredibly complicated puzzle: the residential tower that they hope will soon rise from the remains of the auditorium on Sansom Street.

Philadelphia Historical Commission’s Architectural Committee, who ultimately denied Pearl’s initial offering in May, will weigh-in on the plans during their meeting on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.

Will this updated proposal fly? Let’s check it out.

Read more »

Under Armour Flagship, Apartment High-Rise Planned for 16th and Walnut

1527-33 Walnut Street | Rendering via Pearl Properties, DAS

1527-33 Walnut Street | Rendering via Pearl Properties, DAS

Plans are starting to take shape for two key properties on the corner of 16th and Walnut, as owner Pearl Properties is busy working on designs for 1527 and 1529-33 Walnut Street–the former site of Lululemon and current home of the Brown Brothers Harriman Co. building, respectively.

“We are very excited and are still working on our final designs with our architect, DAS,” said James Pearlstein, the “Pearl” in Pearl Properties, in an email. ” Our plan is a mixed use residential apartment project anchored by two large retail spaces, Under Armour on the corner and an additional retailer to the east.”

Read more »

Pearl Properties Buys Another Art Deco Treasure, Plans Old Navy

1618 Chestnut

Image via Google Street View

Pearl Properties continues its run of recent activity. The real estate developer has now purchased the beautiful Art Deco building at 1618-22 Chestnut Street, according to a report in The Inquirer, and signed on Old Navy to anchor the lower floors of the building.

The Art Institute of Philadelphia has been a tenant of the property since 1982, and will move its operations to another part of the building.

Read more »

Commission Approves Plan for Commercial Building Next to the Boyd Theatre

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1900-06 Chestnut Street | Photo: James Jennings

The Historical Commission gave its collective thumbs up to the plans for a new commercial encompassing 1900-06 Chestnut Street, adjacent to the former Boyd Theatre.

Although the designs for the tower at the Boyd Theatre site were rejected by the Historical Commission in May, Pearl Properties moved forward with the commercial aspect of the plans, which includes the re-use of the 2-story Alexander Building at 1900 Chestnut and a new 3-story structure squeezed between it and the Boyd.

Read more »

Lululemon Will Soon Have a New Location Near Rittenhouse Square

The former Cosi at 1720 Walnut Street | Photo: James Jennings

The former Cosi at 1720 Walnut Street | Photo: James Jennings

It’s fitting that Lululemon, a store specializing in yoga gear and athletic apparel, has exhibited some serious flexibility when it comes to their recent brick-and-mortar troubles. Debris from an adjacent building crashed through the store’s roof at 1527 Walnut Street in late January, causing the company with a near cult-like following to move to a temporary spot down the street at 1422 Walnut. Now, it looks as though the company is headin’ on up to the ritzy part of town.

Jacob Cooper, partner at MSC Retail, tells Property that Lululemon will take over the storefront at 1720 Walnut Street, a former Cosi just steps from Rittenhouse Square. Brittany Goldberg from MSC Retail and Ken Bleznak from Atlantic Real Estate Group handled the transaction. A representative from Lululemon was unavailable for comment at the time of publication, so it’s unclear when the store will be open for business.

Read more »

Parking Garage Near Broad and Locust Being Prepped for Demolition

Corner of Broad and Locust | Photo: James Jennings

Corner of Broad and Locust | Photo: James Jennings

It looks as though the rundown parking garage at 219 South Broad Street is being prepped for demolition. A quick stroll past the property shows that the entrance/exit gates on Broad Street have been fenced off and the doors to the building are locked tight.

Then there’s also this interesting plumbing  permit (of all things) issued on July 30, which pretty much spells out its demise:

TO REMOVE TRAP AND SEAL TRAP AND SEAL LATTERAL IN PREPARATION FOR COMPLETE DEMOLITION.

You may recall that Pearl Properties purchased the entire northeast corner of Broad and Locust in March for a combined $20 million, leading to speculation that something big was in the works.

Read more »

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