Newly Listed: Center City Condo for Just Shy of $4 Million

looking at symphony house from spaceUnit 2008 at Symphony House spans what the listing describes as “the full southern hemisphere of floor 20,” which makes me envision the city as a globe with Broad Street as the Equator. (It does seem hotter below Broad, doesn’t it?) The huge condo does have enough amenities for a small planet, such as multiple TVs, including a 60 inch plasma; floor-to-ceiling glass walls with city views; custom Viking and Sub-Zero appliances; Smart House and sound systems; a bidet; another apartment within the apartment, with a separate entrance and full kitchen, dining room, living room, bedroom and full bath; three garage parking spots; and then all the amenities the building itself has. Plus, this unit still has time on a tax abatement.

Gallery below.

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$5 Million Symphony House Penthouse

Unit #3001, 400 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA.

Unit #3001, 400 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA.

This unit at the Symphony House on South Broad Street is described both as “glamorous” and “glorious,” and it does have many appropriately luxurious features, starting with floor-to-ceiling windows with straight-into-the-city views (and remote-controlled blinds for privacy).

The dining area has a double-height ceiling and direct access to one of the terraces, while the European-style kitchen has an island with breakfast bar, stainless steel apron-front sink with pullout faucet, and double doors that open to another terrace. The family/media room, also has access to the terrace.

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Saffron Shocker: A Carl Dranoff Building She Loves

SLS international rendering

Part of a Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates rendering of Dranoff’s new project. Full rendering below.

We’re not sure whether this was one of Carl Dranoff’s goals for his new South Broad Street exclamation point, the SLS International Hotel and Residences, but we’re sure he couldn’t be more pleased if he had planned this from the outset: for the first time since he turned his attention to the Avenue of the Arts, Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron has tossed a bouquet to a Dranoff building’s architecture.

Saffron has always given Dranoff props for his business savvy and his commitment to creating lively urban environments, and her review of the SLS tower in today’s Inquirer is no exception. As she wrote, Dranoff “seems to possess a sixth sense about where the real estate market will go next.” His Avenue of the Arts debut, Symphony House, was an example of that sixth sense at work, and as Saffron notes again in her review today, the project got the urbanism right, packing enticing commercial spaces at the street level and finding top-flight tenants to fill them.

But her disdain for the “pink-hued, milk-bottle-shaped” apartment tower – a building that wants badly to be its Modernist self but instead comes off as a Drake Tower wannabe – became well-known.

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Power Out at Symphony House, Not a Problem Says Kevin Sbraga

sbraga-outdoors

The power is out at Broad Street’s Symphony House, Inga Saffron’s favorite pink condo building. The building also holds Kevin Sbraga’s restaurant. So the Top Chef winner is showing the adaptability that helped him win the show and is breaking out his roasting box (doesn’t everyone have mobile roasting box?) and will be preparing an alfresco two-course dinner for $25.

Sbraga [Official Site]

Property Profiles: Developer Carl Dranoff

Property Profiles is a series highlighting the people who have defined the Greater Philadelphia area and continue to chart its future–from established developers with numerous projects behind them to young visionaries who are just starting out to under-the-radar players who get everything done. Have someone you’d like to see featured? Send us an email and let us know!

This week Property Philly sat down with Carl Dranoff–developer of the Left Bank; World Café Live; Symphony House; 777 Broad Street; the upcoming Southstar Lofts; and more–to discuss his lengthy career on the Philadelphia real estate scene. Topics ranged from his unshakeable belief in Camden’s future to the impossibility of leasing Old City apartments in 1983.

On deciding what to be when he grew up:
“I never drew people.”

Dranoff grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and decided early on that he wanted to build things. He sketched throughout his childhood – buildings but never people – and chose to pursue civil engineering at Drexel University based largely on the school’s co-op program. He said he realized that many engineers turned out to be “small cogs on big wheels.” Recognizing that he had more entrepreneurial goals, he decided to go to Harvard Business School for his MBA. “It was the only two years I spent away from Philadelphia,” he said.

On Historic Landmarks for Living and his first big rehab in Old City:
“People said it was too far from town, too close to the bridge.”

Dranoff began working with Historic Landmarks for Living in 1981. The Wireworks condos at 301 Race was their first large-scale rehabilitation. After gutting and renovating the building into loft-style apartments — a novelty in the city in 1983 — Dranoff decided to host a party to launch the new building. He invited old friends from Harvard. No one accepted his invitation until he offered to ferry them into and around Old City by tour bus. “They thought it was unsafe,” he said. By the end of the night, they were sold on the neighborhood’s potential and on the building.

A combination of historic charm, modern amenities and aggressive marketing made the Wireworks a huge success. By 1989, Dranoff said Historic Landmarks was the biggest rehabber of historic buildings in the United States, perfecting their playbook and replicating success 66 times in eight years in cities like Baltimore, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Chicago and Milwaukee. “Any city with lakes and rivers has a warehouse district,” Dranoff said.

On founding Dranoff Properties in 1998:
“If I don’t do it now, I’ll be too old.”

Dranoff founded the property group when he was 50 years old, after working for a series of home builders and developers. He worked with Paul Levy and others to convince then-mayor Ed Rendell to approve 10-year tax abatements for historic rehabs, which created a market environment where Dranoff felt comfortable putting out his own shingle.

In 1998, the Convention Center was only three years old and the Kimmel Center was years from opening. Dranoff anticipated a real need for hotels and residential properties alike. “The city was pulling out of its long malaise,” he said.

Dranoff Properties began construction on its first building, Locust on the Park, on June 10, 1998. The building was gutted, rehabbed and fully occupied by June 9, 1999. To get a sense of Dranoff’s marketing abilities, remember that the “park” Dranoff was promoting in 1998 wasn’t operational for nearly another decade and was only dedicated two years ago.

On changing demographics for renters:
“They’re renters by choice.”

In the early 1980s, Dranoff said he was renting apartments to 22-year-olds who had about a three-year window of renting. Over time, he said, that window has lengthened to closer to 10-15 years. He cited familiar statistics about people marrying later, having fewer children and bearing them later. Young families are now more inclined to stay in the city in a rental unit, Dranoff said. “It’s now a different mindset.”

On sustainability and buying his own Chevy Volt:
“A leader has to show with actions–not words–what a company culture has to be.”

Dranoff lives in the property group’s only condo building, Symphony House, which — like his other buildings — boasts electric car charging stations. That’s where he charges his own electric car.

He says Dranoff Property’s commitment to sustainability also extends to things like building proximity to various Septa stops and stations as well as his bike sharing program. Residents at buildings like 777 South Broad and the under-construction Southstar Lofts can stroll into the lobby and check out a bicycle, helmet and U-lock at a moment’s notice.

Many of the group’s projects are proximal to regional rail and subway stops, but they do not have a formal relationship with any transit authority, Dranoff said. He lamented the sad state of public transit funding in Pennsylvania. “Every year you have to go back and beg for money from the legislature.”

On Camden’s bright future:
“Camden, mark my words, will become a Hoboken in the future.”

Dranoff already owns one building in Camden (The Victor) and anticipates another building going up mid-2014. He anticipates Coopers Crossing being as successful as The Victor for several reasons, not the least of which is work he is currently doing to help ease taxes on developments in Camden similar to the ones he encouraged in Philadelphia during the 1990s. “You can’t take a cornfield in Nebraska and say it’s gonna be the next great place,” Dranoff said. “Camden has the waterfront.” He said it would be a fair comparison to consider Camden circa 2013 in the same light as Old City circa 1983. “Camden has something Philadelphia will never have: the view of Philadelphia.”

On his expanding South Broad Street empire:
“Macy’s doesn’t tell Gimbels what it’s doing.”

Dranoff is tight-lipped about specifics regarding future projects, but he does promise big news soon. “The best is yet to come on South Broad Street,” he said. “Later this year, look for a big announcement. And another one next year. We have several equation-changing projects for the city.”

Uber-Luxurious & Spacious Symphony House Condo for Sale

SPOTLIGHT LISTING: Symphony House condo for sale

Any urban dweller will tell you that space is a rare find in the city—which makes this 5,100-square-foot Center City stunner a hot commodity. This to-die-for spacious Symphony House condo for sale offers grand living in the heart of the city, with a custom granite bar, stone ledge walls and floor-to-ceiling window walls. The kitchen has a custom granite island, custom Viking appliances, six-burner cook top, subzero fridge and more. It’s all business in the executive suite, which features Venetian-plastered walls, built-in cherry cabinets and desk and a 42-inch plasma TV. There’s also a separate au pair suite, with full living and dining rooms. And from the four balconies you can admire the city views.

Symphony House Condo for Sale

400-440 S. Broad Street, #2008 Philadelphia 19146
Price: $3,295,000
Bed: 3
Bath: 3 full, 1 half
MLS: 6179607