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]
A rendering from Rafael Viñoly Architects website.
Back in September 2013, Rafael Viñoly Architects — best known locally for the Kimmel Center — announced that the firm would be handling the adaptive reuse of the Atlantic Building at Broad and Spruce, which was purchased by the Post Brothers in the summer of 2012 for $22 million. The plan was to turn the high-rise into a mixed-use retail/residential space, with construction by Vinoly & co. to begin at the end of last year.
While construction (or demolition, depending on your point of view) is under way — scaffolding went up more than a year ago, in fact — neither Viñoly nor the Post Brothers’ Matt and Mike Pestronk have been talking up the progress. Yet between the architect, the developer, the location, and the building, this is a major project. Why the quiet?
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Still from the commercial
The union siege against the Post Brothers continues, and it just gets more surreal. For Halloween, IBEW Local 98 is releasing a commercial “featuring a ‘ghostly’ cartoon version of John J. Dougherty” to promote its film about the Post Brothers’ Goldtex Apartments. The commercial also has another goal: “taking time to remind parents to check their kids’ Halloween treats before allowing them to eat them.”
That’s such a bizarre pairing of agendas, we don’t even know what to say.
The commercial will air tonight during the Flyers game (know your audience — that’s lesson No. 1) and will terrify and confuse children watching “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” on Halloween on ABC. It’ll also air, according to the press release, on AMC, Comedy Central, ABC Family, FX, SPIKE and SYFY.
Pardon the informality of the headline, but this simply cannot be believed. Philadelinquency spotted a post on Philadelphia Speaks in which forum member fiveomar described an interaction at 20th and Chestnut with a “union goon” (now, that’s not nice) who was handing out anti-Post Brothers fliers. According to fiveomar, the fliers included “some pretty ridiculous claims about the Post Brothers storing and smuggling heroine [sic] and cocaine.”
We have tried to maintain some degree of objectivity here, but if the building trades are now painting Matthew Pestronk as Pablo Escobar, that has to be the last straw. What’s next? Mike Pestronk is actually Walter White?
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Yesterday there was a lot of union activity from the organized laborers of the area. Not long ago, we wrote about the latest in a long line of volleys between the Post Brothers–developers and managers of numerous buildings in the city–and building trade unions, which have been largely absent from the Post Bros.’ work sites (except as protesters).
The most recent dustup came when Post Brothers co-owner Matthew Pestronk told us residents were being videotaped by members of Local 98 as they walked in and out of Rittenhouse Hill, a Post Brothers property. Initially, Local 98 spokesperson Frank Keel was skeptical of the claims, but after seeing photos of the men involved, he conceded it was, indeed, union members–but they were only there for one day and only to monitor the placement of their protest signs on the lawn.
Subsequently, Pestronk sent us photographs of guys with videocameras outside the residence date marked from several different months of this year and last, suggesting it was not, in fact, a one-day union project.
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Philadelphia Magazine‘s Best of Philly issue is on newsstands now, and for those interested in real estate, economic development, and the city’s future, there are some real standout picks in the magazine’s “20 Best Philadelphians.”
Those who kick some serious butt in the Property world? “Retail King” Michael Salove, “Liberators” Post Brothers and “Connector” John Fry. Congrats to those three, as well as the other 17–who are best revealed on printed paper, we assure you.
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