New Tower Could Rise on Rittenhouse Square After All

A rendering of Castleway's pre-recession proposal, courtesy of Skyscraper Page

A rendering of Castleway’s pre-recession proposal, courtesy of Skyscraper Page

Irish developer Castleway Properties is again working on plans for a luxury condo tower and boutique hotel on a prominent vacant lot on Rittenhouse Square. Castleway had proposed something similar for the site in 2007, but the proposal collapsed during the recession. Then, in 2013, megadeveloper Toll Brothers showed interested in purchasing the lot, but earlier this year the sale fell through and Toll Brothers walked away.

Castleway now appears to again be moving forward on its own. According to a May Center City District report, Castleway is planning a 150-unit, 350,000-square-foot condo tower, 25,000 square feet of retail space, a 200,000-square-foot hotel, and four levels of underground parking. That sounds very similar to the pre-recession proposal, which called for a 525-foot glass tower (rendering above).

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Dreamy Bathroom, Wine Cellar and Nanny Suite in Rittenhouse Square

TREND photo courtesy Coldwell Banker.

TREND photo courtesy Coldwell Banker.

On the Rittenhouse Square Luxury Homes bingo card, “Delancey Street” would be the center square. This home would satisfy the rest of the bingo squares pretty quickly. Multiple fireplaces? Check. Cavernous wine cellar? Check. Ample parking included? Of course. Nanny suite? Obviously. Master bath that inspires hot green envy? Indeed.

This four-bedroom townhouse just off the intersection of 18th and Delancey clocks in with more than 4,000 square feet of living space. Not counting the parking for two out back. The interior design elements evoke exactly the luxury you expect at such a posh address. Lots of built-ins, custom millwork, deep baseboards and grand fireplaces. The finishes, too, are high-end. The kitchen features not one but two Bosch dishwashers, a six-burner Thermador stove and a Subzero refrigerator.
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Angry Bull Burger Comes to Village Whiskey

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For the month of July, Iron Chef Jose Garces’ restaurant, Village Whiskey is heating things up with a mouthwatering burger, and you can thank San Fermín’s Running of the Bulls for it.

To celebrate the event, Village Whiskey will debut the Angry Bull Burger featuring aged manchego cheese, chorizo billbao, fried padron pepper, tempranillo grilled onions and smoked paprika aioli. The burger will cost $22 and that’s no bull.

Village Whiskey [Foobooz]

Patterns Everywhere in this Two-Story Rittenhouse Square Condo

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach

TREND photo courtesy BHHS Fox & Roach


Even at the toniest addresses in Rittenhouse Square, it can be difficult to find a condo that feels more like a private home. This fifth- and sixth-floor unit in 1900 Rittenhouse is a three-bedroom home spanning more than 3,600 square feet. The layout, the cozy wallpaper and the actual, working windows throughout make this unit feel more like a rowhouse with leafy views.

The unit has two separate entrances – one on each floor. The levels are connected by a custom interior staircase with equally dramatic lighting. The main living floor features living and dining rooms, a family room, a half bath, a laundry room, the kitchen and a double-bath master suite. The master baths are finished with Czech & Speake fixtures. Upstairs are two additional bedrooms and another living room with private entrance.
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Annual Rittenhouse Ball on the Square

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Last night, Rittenhouse Square held its annual Ball on the Square. Nearly 370 well-dressed guests attended. The dress was jackets for guys and gowns for women enduring the near summer heat and humidity for a good cause.

The annual celebration brings much-needed funds for the maintenance of the popular square; last night it was especially sweet as the Friends of Rittenhouse Square met their goal for the One Million Dollar Preservation Campaign. The campaign started under last year’s ball chairs Mary Parenti and Lynn Schecter, and was completed with the efforts of the 2014 ball chairs Janice Birenbaum and Nina Stanley and the ball committee.

Today, walking through the park you can see the improvements: increased lighting, security cameras, the restored and cleaned balustrade, and the illuminated guardhouse and lion. Next up: The restoration of the fountain.

Rittenhouse Ball on the Square »

Liberté Lounge Introduces Healthy Bites and a New Chef

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The Liberté Lounge at The Sofitel Philadelphia Hotel is getting ready for the summer with new chef Justin Perdue. Along with the new addition in the kitchen, the lounge has also introduced a new summertime menu, which includes under 400-calorie meals like the Amish Chicken (250 calories) or the Pan Seared Halibut (310). Other new dishes include Stone Ground Polenta and Roasted Pork Tenderloin with kohlrabi risotto. And if you’re looking to keep the night going, don’t shy away from the dessert menu in fear that you’ll have to unbutton your pants on the walk home, the Mango Mousse and Homemade Sorbet are both under 150 calories. Or, for those who wore their stretchy pants, a chocolate coffee ganache cake is also on the menu. The new menus will available everyday at lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea. 

Liberté Lounge [Official]

Open House at 2116 Chestnut on Thursday

2116 Chestnut. Image via the building's website.

2116 Chestnut. Image via the building’s website.

2116 Chestnut, the 34-story apartment tower near Rittenhouse Square that opened last summer, will host an open house on Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. The event will be held on the building’s rooftop deck, and will feature complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. There will be a DJ and tours of sample apartment units for all guests.

The slick glass 2116 Chestnut has 321 units and was built by the John Buck Co. of Chicago, with additional funding from the Indure Fund, a union-backed real estate investment fund, and the state of Pennsylvania. Electricians’ union chief John Dougherty played a major role in getting the project off the ground.

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Where We’re Eating: Barclay Prime

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Ten years into its existence on Rittenhouse Square, Stephen Starr’s first Philadelphia steakhouse remains the city’s most stylish and expense-account-crushing ode to red meat. As at Starr’s supper-clubby Butcher and Singer, service here is A-1. But while Butcher and Singer is the kind of place you can take Mom to for an impressive birthday dinner, Barclay Prime is the type of modern see-and-be-seen dining room where you’ll be embarrassed when she shows up in anything less than Prada. Skip the gimmicky wagyu-foie cheesesteak and cut into the signature rib eye. Just expect to drop $150 to $200 per person if you’re going all in.

Barclay Prime [Foobooz]

A.kitchen Gets a Second Look from Craig LaBan

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Not even a stolen purse from next door’s a.bar can put a damper on Craig LaBan’s opinion of the revamped a.kitchen.

[T]he grill’s true stars were whole fish for sharing that are different from any others in Philly. That aji, butterflied and grilled over a Japanese grill grate that blistered the skin over dusky, buttery flesh, is a new favorite. The regal Dover sole, vented for the grill with vertical slashes and served over brown butter-lime vinaigrette – will be a bone-in change-up for older diners accustomed to black-tied servers doing all the fillet work. But the crispy skin and luxurious, moist meat was extraordinary. Like the restaurant’s unconventional wines, this is an a.kitchen challenge worth embracing.

Three Bells – Excellent

a.kitchen: A city gem not undone by a city problem [Philadelphia Inquirer]
a.kitchen [Foobooz]

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