Update on Two Big Projects at 15th and Chestnut

Whither Wendy's and W?

The latest available rendering of Brook Lenfest's proposed dual-hotel tower, via this recent Center City District report

The latest available rendering of Brook Lenfest’s proposed dual-hotel tower, via this recent Center City District report

We’re seeing progress on two major projects that’ll radically change the intersection of 15th and Chestnut: Brook Lenfest’s long-discussed W and Element hotel tower right behind the Residences at the Ritz Carlton, and, right across 15th Street, Alterra Property Group and the Scully Company’s conversion of 150,000 square feet of class B office space into 180 apartments, with a small amount of office and retail space. (That latter project was mentioned in an Inquirer story a few days ago.)

Earlier today, we noticed that the parking lot on the hotel site was closed (temporarily, a sign said). Philly Chit Chat’s HughE Dillon explains:

This week they are beginning to test the soil in anticipation for the building as well as the extensive underground parking lot they’re building.  Last week officials from the project went around to the surrounding buildings, including the new Alterra project, and took photos of them inside an out – “The Before Photos”, just in case vibrations from the drilling and building the W causes any cracks in the neighboring buildings.

The project is scheduled to start construction this year and wrap up in 2017. The most recent rendering of the tower that we’ve seen, included at right, shows the new building rising higher than the 518-foot Residences at the Ritz, and—it appears—just a little bit higher than the William Penn statue atop City Hall. (The architect will be Cope Linder Architects of Philadelphia.) Controversy surrounded the project in the fall, as City Council discussed giving it around $33 million in tax breaks. In the end, Council voted 15-1 in favor of granting them.

Across the street at 1515 Chestnut, Dillon reports, Alterra is reshuffling the ground floor retail tenants:

That Wendy’s on the corner has been a magnet of trouble for years, and it was deemed a deterrent to obtaining business for the new project;  BUT it’s a money maker too. What to do, the Alterra decided to move the Wendy’s from the corner and put it in the center of the building where the Giovani Pizza and the Falafel Bar were located, after negotiated a lease buyout from the two eateries. They will now move to 1533 Chestnut in the long vacant Ritz Camera Shop.

What’s going in on the corner where Wendy’s soon will be history (as of August), a WELLS Fargo. Remember about a month ago I tweeted that WELLS FARGO was leaving 1500 Market Street, now we know where they’re going, around the corner.

There’s now a sign up at Giovanni and the Falafel Bar informing customers of the move down the street.