It looks like Post Brothers is poised to make yet another splash on the Philly real estate scene, only this time it’s through potentially selling two apartment buildings consisting of nearly 800 high-end units.
The Philly-based development company has placed two of their most recognizable properties on the market: Rittenhouse Hill in Germantown and the Goldtex building. For the latter, the news come just two years after successfully rehabbing (not without controversy) the defunct warehouse building into a glistening, 163-unit luxury apartment complex at 11th and Wood Street in Callowhill.
The move could prove to pay off quite handsomely for the company. A recent report from Commercial Real Estate Direct suggests Rittenhouse Hill, with its 626-units spread over two buildings, could move for $150 million–or $240,000 per unit.
Given its prime Center City location, Goldtex could fetch a far greater bounty. The building boasts a fancy roof deck with pool and skyline views, a fitness center, Brick & Mortar restaurant, and, in the not-too-distant future, a direct connection to the Rail Park. It also became the first apartment building in Philadelphia to be awarded LEED Gold Certification for its energy-efficiency and overall design.
Rittenhouse Hill ain’t too shabby, either, especially after a $52 million overhaul of the property brought in a modern look, an infinity edge swimming pool and hot tub, bocce courts, tot lot and dog run/washing station.
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The Goldtex Apartments officially received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold level certification this week, according to Mike Pestronk of Post Brothers, the developers of the green paneled building at 315 North 12th Street.
“It’s a pretty intensive process to get the certification,” said Pestronk, of the announcement. “We were surprised when we found that nobody else has this certification–and that nobody else is really pursuing it. It’s nice that it sets us apart, but it would kind of be better if we weren’t the only one.
“It’s a sad state of affairs for Philly. Developers don’t seem to care [about developing LEED Certified apartment projects].”
LEED is a rating program that uses a point system to determine how environmentally friendly a building is. Buildings are then judged according to the point system in a number of different categories, such as site sustainability, water efficiency and innovation. Goldtex is the first apartment building in the city to achieve the standard.
“A lot of consumers don’t know what LEED is,” said Pestronk. “It has as much to do with high quality design than greenness. It’s about making a healthy and happy living environment with things like air quality, insulation, and just good overall design.”
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The Netherlands building at 4300 Chestnut | Google Street View
As we told you in late October, Post Brothers is betting big on the area in and around University City. While their plans will initially start with a massive renovation project at the Garden Court Plaza, an apartment house at 47th and Pine, the scope of their overall $250 million investment is now starting to be revealed.
Melissa Romero of Curbed Philly reports that Matthew Pestronk, president and co-founder of Post Brothers, unveiled their new West Philly portfolio at a meeting in front of the Spruce Hill Community Association this week. It contains no fewer than seven aging (and beautiful) buildings spread out all over the area, and Romero says that the developer wanted talk with residents in attendance and ease their concerns: “Everything here is historic. We are not tearing down any buildings.”
While a statement like that deserves pause, especially in light of the recent news about the three buildings on Sansom Street that Southern Land Company seeks to demolish, remember that it was Post Brothers who did the seemingly unthinkable and redeveloped the dilapidated Goldtex Building into a glistening apartment complex. They’re also in the thick of bringing Presidential City, a multi-building complex, back to life.
“We’ve never demolished any historic buildings, or any buildings. Period,” echoed Mike Pestronk, Matthew’s brother, in an interview with Property. The developers quietly assembled the West Philly properties from four different owners over the past two months. Pestronk said they’re presently working on two more potential acquisitions, “but it’s not a definite they will happen.”
Here’s the list of their new buildings in West Philly:
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Garden Court Plaza
Post Brothers is starting to execute their plans to get in on some of the action around University City. The company announced they’ve acquired the Garden Court Plaza, a gorgeous 1920s-era apartment building at 47th and Pine Street (map), with plans to undertake a massive renovation project that largely caters to the area’s built-in population of post-graduates.
According to a press release about the acquisition, Post Brothers has “earmarked” $250 million to invest in projects that look to keep recent grads and a growing workforce in and around University City (47th and Pine is really Walnut Hill). “Our principal goal is to harness the energy of this exciting neighborhood to create re-imagined, high-quality apartments that are reflective of the neighborhood’s vibrant, upwardly-mobile population,” said Post’s CEO Michael Pestronk.
The plan at Garden Court Plaza calls for 146 apartment units, and will look to take the historic structure to the next level by bringing a new management team on site. Oh, and they will also be adding an amenity package on par with the flashy new high-rises popping up on Market and Chestnut streets.
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The Washington Building at Presidential City | All Photos by HughE Dillon
If you tend to travel (or sit in traffic) on the Schuylkill Expressway, there is no doubt you’ve seen the transformation of the musty Presidential apartment complex that towers over the highway at City Avenue.
The project by Post Brothers–dubbed Presidential City–is quite massive. Four hulking, 12-story buildings are being re-skinned on the outside and getting a luxurious overhaul within. The complex will boast an outdoor pool club and amenity space–free for residents–that CEO and co-founder Michael Pestronk told us will be “really world class.” It all comes together in a tasteful rebirth of a 1950’s-era development by an iconic Philadelphia builder, John McShain. Known as “The Man Who Built Washington,” McShain’s work includes the Pentagon, the Jefferson Memorial and the Kennedy Center (to name a few). Oh yeah, the cost of the project is expected to by $100 million, when all is said and done.
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In 2013, the Post Brothers bought the prestigious Presidential City and are underway with a $100 million renovation of the highly visible complex on the edge of Fairmount Park and the drives. Last week they held a party to celebrate the first of the four buildings renovated, which already has tenants moved in. The Presidential was built in the 1950s, and maintained that style of living all the way down to the window air conditioning units that dotted the building’s exterior. Since the renovation, the Post Brothers installed central air in the units, expanded some of the windows to create a floor-to-ceiling effect, replaced the wiring, upgraded the piping and completely gutted each unit, installing top-of-the-line appliances. The Presidential offers studios to two-bedroom penthouses with wrap-around views of Fairmount Park, soaking tubs and showers. There are plenty of amenities that make the Presidential apartments very attractive as a new home, including the Sora Pool Club with its pool, saunas, massage rooms and a state-of-the-art fitness center.
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Philadelphia’s Goldtex apartment building has come a long way.
From its start as a shoe factory to its time as an abandoned graffiti haven, the colorful apartment building has been widely praised, so much so that Inga Saffron even approved of the residential structure in Philly’s loft district (or ‘Eraserhood,’ depending on who you ask).
Photographer Conrad Benner recently got a look at Goldtex, whose artsy modern interior calls back to its days as graffiti-filled blight. From Benner’s Streets Dept blog:
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Photo by Liz Spikol.
Less than a year ago, the news out of the Post Brothers’ Goldtex building was drama, controversy and inflatable rats. Which is why Inga Saffron, in today’s Inquirer, is expressing genuine surprise that not only have the former adversaries moved beyond attacking each other, but that the building itself seems to be – dare we say it – an example of good design.
The surprise is that the renovated factory emerged from the debacle with its architectural integrity intact.
“There must be something in the water,” she writes, explaining that both Electricians Local 98 boss John Dougherty and developer Michael Pestronk both expressed some regret over the affair.
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Photo: Liz Spikol
According to Zagat as reported in Foobooz, the Goldtex apartment building’s ground floor will soon be getting a restaurant. Mike Welsh, formerly of Franklin Mortgage and Lemon Hill, will open Brick & Mortar — “a neighborhood American tavern” — sometime in November in what’s currently 3,500 square feet of raw space.
One issue with Goldtex has been its location–what people call, variously, the Loft District, Eraserhood, or Chinatown-ish–Philadephians have a hard time seeing that area as warm and neighborhoody. But it sounds, from Welsh’s talk with Danya Henninger for Zagat, that the restaurant/bar’s vibe hopes to change that:
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Photo by Ben Weldon for Philadelphia Magazine
It wouldn’t be fair to say that Matt Pestronk — one half of the development team the Post Brothers — is taking pleasure in witnessing the legal difficulties faced by the Ironworkers union. He hasn’t said anything of the kind. But given his own struggles with the building trades, he can’t be unmoved by recent developments.
After all, his own business is still hampered by ongoing legal entanglements with the unions, which he talks about here with WPHT’s Dom Giordano:
Dom Giordano Talks With Real Estate Developer About Alleged Union Harassment [CBS Philly]