Go West, Young Building: Generic Rental Slabs Migrate Toward University City
In her most recent Changing Skyline column, Inga Saffron noted fully seven apartment towers that are being built or heightened between 20th and 38th streets on Market and Chestnut. (Part of this stretch was what porn theater Forum owner Richard Basciano talked about rehabbing for a new vision of Market Street West–before one of his buildings collapsed and killed people.)
The developers, says Saffron, “now see the typical high-rise resident as a twentysomething with a good-paying job at a hospital or tech start-up.” As a result, all the apartments are rentals, and says Saffron, they look it.
Several of the designs have a generic, placeless quality, like long-stay hotels. They are mostly plain, rectangular monoliths that rely on asymmetrical window placement and shifts in materials to energize their facades. It’s hard to imagine such buildings turning the area into a real neighborhood.
She lists the seven projects and their stages of completion.
Meanwhile, Sandy Smith at Philadelphia Real Estate Blog writes about another project in University City, 3737 Market Street. In this case, construction has begun on the 11-story, 272,700-square-foot office tower that’s part of University City Science Center. That won’t be done for another year.
Perhaps the most controversial of the projects either of them discusses is the Episcopal Cathedral, whose development would necessitate the demolition of historic homes. There’s a hearing about it tomorrow. Should get feisty.