The Griffin, Ready For Its Closeup

Now that the luxury apartments are available for rent, it's time to return to the conversion project at Broad and Chestnut.

A model unit at The Griffin. | Photo: Sandy Smith

A model corner unit at The Griffin. | Photos: Sandy Smith unless otherwise indicated

Back in August of last year, we gave you a first look at a work in progress on the Avenue of the Arts: The Griffin, the first Philadelphia project for MRP Realty, a Washington-based real estate development and management firm whose local office is headed by Delco native Charley McGrath.

MRP bought the upper 14 floors of the vintage-1898 Avenue of the Arts Building, most recently a dorm for Art Institute of Philadelphia students, for $33 million in early 2014 and quickly went about converting those floors into 217 luxury apartments.

Those apartments are now well on their way to completion, with several models now open for inspection and tenants already moving in, so we decided we’d take leasing manager Benjamin Cutler up on his offer of letting us poke around the building again.

The apartments at the Griffin come in a dazzling array of layouts: 42, to be exact, according to Cutler. The apartments range in size from studios averaging 489 square feet to two-bedroom units averaging 1,258 square feet. The building also has two bi-level penthouses with private outdoor space, but the largest units are the 1,800-square-foot two-bedroom-plus-den units that partly occupy floors extended into the building’s light well. These units also have private balconies as well as bedrooms where the original brick and tile work have been left exposed.

The variety of layouts and the quality of the materials and finishes give every apartment at the Griffin its own personality. All, however, are equipped with the usual high-end touches one would expect, including stainless steel appliances, tile backsplashes, and shower stalls with massage heads and glass doors mounted on rollers.

On the fourth floor is a 24-hour fitness center, business lounge and conference room available for tenant use.

Many of the building’s historic elements have been nicely restored and preserved, most notably the semicircular staircase that projects into the building’s light well. It’s been preserved behind glass as a display object rather than restored as a functional part of the building, but it occupies a place of pride in the elevator lobby on each floor.

The top-floor clubhouse remains unfinished; when it’s complete, tenants will enjoy additional lounge space with bar seating, a catering kitchen, billiards, shuffleboard, and a roof deck with a fire pit, an outdoor kitchen and a dynamite view of City Hall one block north.

Rents range from $1,843 per month for the studios to $6,079 per month for the two-bedroom-plus-den units. The penthouses are slightly cheaper than that.