Philadelphia’s New Boom

The city is changing dramatically, with new buildings, revitalized neighborhoods and inviting public spaces emerging all at once. Here’s an inside look at what’s behind this New Boom — and a preview of what our revitalized city will be.

Trend #4: Market East Gets Shiny

After years of debate (and an almost-casino), some visionaries are finally making a go at revitalizing Market East, starting with the $200 million East Market Plan (first step: new name). Daniel Killinger, managing director for National Real Estate Development — the company that’s pulling together all the pieces — walks us through the mega-project.
©BLT Architects

©BLT Architects

1. Site Overview: East Market is a four-acre parcel between Market and Chestnut and 11th and 12th. “We’re breaking the site into three smaller blocks. The interior streets — like Ludlow and Clover — will be cleaned up, dumpsters will be removed, and the streets will be redone with cobblestone-like pavers.”

2. Family Court Building: “This will be a very modern open-plan office space with 14-foot ceilings and concrete floors. We will lease out offices — the whole building is 160,000 square feet — targeting tech and creative companies.” Around the corner on 11th Street will be a MOM’s Organic Market with 55 complimentary parking spaces for shoppers.

3. New Walkway: The 30-foot-wide pedestrian-only walkway will have restaurants and retail. “It’s important to have new operators from places like Chicago or L.A. come to Philly … and also to bring in existing restaurant owners and Philly BYOBs. It needs to be authentic, but it needs to be bold and new.”

4. The Convention Center entrance on Market Street.

5. New Residential Building: This L-shaped tower, on the corner of 11th and Market, will have 322 mostly one-bedroom rental units. The parking will be below the building. Amenities include a third-floor roof garden with grills and seating, a demo kitchen, a gym and a business center.

6. Retail: This will be a huge two-story retail unit with multiple shopping and restaurant tenants, swooping all the way around to the corner of 12th and Market.

Behind the Boom: Center City

The Retail Revitalizer: Michael Salove

When high-profile landlords and institutions like Drexel want the ideal mix of commercial tenants, they look to MSC founder Salove and principal partner Douglas Green. Their staffers are adept at turning boring city blocks into dynamic communities. Last year alone, they played real estate matchmaker for Uniqlo, Under Armour, Independence Beer Garden and more.

The Showoff: Carl Dranoff

Dranoff, a stalwart developer with a history of building spaces that connect neighborhoods to each other, is set to break ground on a pair of projects that will expand Philly’s swanky side. The tower planned for Spruce and South Broad streets is 47 stories of luxe residential units and a fancy SLS hotel, while One Riverside in Fitler Square will be the first high-end condo tower built since the recession.

The Long-Awaited Rejuvenator: John Connors

Connors — Brickstone Realty’s local managing partner — has been snatching up properties (four just recently) in the Midtown Village/Market East area, kicking the turnaround efforts into high gear. On the books: capping Lit Brothers with an enormous (controversial) electronic billboard and adding a mixed-use tower on the building’s backside, which will move our skyline east.

The Kingpin: Allan Domb

Condo king? Please. Domb’s dominion stretches way beyond condos — the developer/realtor is Center City’s de facto planner. He’s head of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors, and his pro-development voice carries real weight at City Hall, while his own projects continue to elevate swaths of Rittenhouse — he’s set to add more fancy rentals and custom homes soon.

The Quiet Transformers: James Pearlstein and Reed Slogoff

Together, the power-house duo runs Pearl Properties, a full-service local development, leasing and construction company. Their portfolio is ever-growing; they own impactful buildings in high-traffic Center City zones like Walnut Street (leasing to tenants like Di Bruno Bros., Chipotle and Amis). But lately they’ve been flexing their developmental arms: They built and quickly sold the modern Granary apartments that are catty-corner to the Barnes; they built a high-end apartment complex on the 1600 block of Sansom that houses Abe Fisher and Adolf Biecker Spa/Salon; and they now own a chunk of Chestnut Street between 19th and 20th, where they have plans to build a 26-story residential tower and do something (anyone’s guess!) with the old Boyd Theatre — a hotly debated undertaking.

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