With Avira, Schuylkill Yards Welcomes Its First Residents

Brandywine Realty Trust’s second “vertical neighborhood” builds on what the firm learned from its first one.

avira apartment profile amenity terrace

The opening of Avira just west of 30th Street Station adds yet more residents to eastern University City while also tying it closer to Center City. Brandywine Realty Trust went FMC Tower one better with the huge terrace on this building’s amenity floor, which both workers in the offices below and residents in the apartments above can enjoy. / This and all other renderings: Redundant Pixel; photos courtesy Brandywine Realty Trust and Gotham Properties

Did you miss out on renting an apartment at FMC Tower at Cira South?

Would you like to live in a place like it — a residential/office/commercial building with great amenities in a convenient location?

Brandywine Realty Trust has what you’re looking for — again.

This time, it’s called Avira, and you will find it on the upper floors of the just-completed tower at 3025 JFK Boulevard.

Brandywine liked the results it got with FMC Tower so much that it decided to do it again with its first new-from-the-ground-up building at Schuylkill Yards. But it knew it wanted to top that building’s features.

“Real estate is always about improving on past levels of excellence,” says Jerry Sweeney, Brandywine’s president and CEO. “So we took all the lessons we learned from FMC, which were great, and it did set a new standard — it was Philadelphia’s first ‘vertical neighborhood.’ And we listened to our tenants and residents about what we designed there and factored a lot of what we learned there into 3025.

“So 3025, from a residential and commercial standpoint, is going to be something at a level the city has not seen before.”

To take the experience of living or working at 3025 to that next level, Brandywine decided to turn to a company that has been doing this sort of thing for some time now: the New York-based Gotham Organization. And Brandywine handed Gotham a little more room to do this sort of thing than existed at FMC. Where Pelli Clarke & Partners’ design for the svelte FMC Tower had a modest-sized terrace on the 29th floor and all the common amenities indoors, the building the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism produced for Brandywine has a terrace almost as big as all outdoors at the ninth-floor level.

avira apartment profile Rendering of Avira lobby

Rendering of Avira lobby

As at FMC, workers in the offices below the amenity floor will have access to everything it offers, either for free or for a fee. But Gotham designed the amenity floor with the building’s residents — and even the general public — in mind.

“We were handed a great easel and painting surface, if you will, to do something great here because of the building setback,” says Gotham CEO David Picket. “We got 30 to 40 feet of width almost around the entire building perimeter to do some great outdoor space. Then we created indoor spaces that sort of talk to the outdoor space.”

avira apartment profile amenity floor lounge

Cross-section of the amenity floor lounge

On the inside, the amenity floor has a co-working space, fitness club, yoga studio, game room, lounge and bar. The pool and movie screen that are on the inside of the FMC Tower’s 29th floor, however, are on the outdoor terrace here. “We put in a huge movie screen with an outdoor lawn so we can do screenings and other public events,” says Picket. So where FMC Tower residents who want to watch movies, play games or dine out under the stars have to go to Cira Green next door, Avira residents will just take the elevator down to the ninth floor. In addition to the pool and lawn, the outdoor terrace has a lounge with fire pits and a dining area with grills.

avira apartment profile amenity floor co-working lounge

Amenity floor co-working lounge

And Gotham will surely have some game nights in the mix of activities it offers residents. Brandywine invited the company to partner with it on this project because it extensively programs activities in the properties it runs in the Big Apple.

“In New York, we do a lot of programming and event-planning around our tenants,” says Picket. “I don’t want to say we invented this, but it’s something we started doing in New York in the late ’90s. We do a lot of programming around concerts and movies and tastings and cooking classes and excursions. And we’re bringing that whole program to Philadelphia along with this really fantastic landscape that we’re creating on the ninth floor.”

model apartment living room rendering

Rendering of a typical one-bedroom apartment living room

Rent here, then, and you might find yourself headed up to New Hope or out to Amish country with your fellow residents one weekend.

The apartments themselves are smartly laid out and nicely outfitted according to designs from CetraRuddy, the New York-based firm that also handled the design of the amenity-floor spaces.

kitchen in model apartment 1015

Kitchen in Apt. 1015, one of the model units

What makes these units stand out from their peers in other Philadelphia luxury apartment buildings are the thought that went into them. For instance, the micro-studio apartments come equipped with Murphy beds to maximize use of space — and couches built into the bedframes tuck under them when the bed is pulled down.

Again, this is a feature that apartments in New York have had for a while. They’re making their Philadelphia debut here.

model aparrtment bedroom rendering

Rendering of a typical one-bedroom apartment bedroom

This is Gotham’s first Philadelphia project, but Picket says the company had been looking to enter this market for a while now. Brandywine had contacted Gotham about submitting a proposal for managing this complex, and Gotham responded eagerly: “This just seemed right up our alley,” Picket said.

Picket went on to explain, “What we liked about what’s going on in the city today is that it’s a little like what was going on in New York in the early ’90s — the new neighborhoods popping up, the new restaurants popping up.”

bathroom in apartment 1015

Bathroom in Apt. 1015

But another aspect of this particular project that appealed to Gotham was its location just up the block from 30th Street Station. That puts it right at the nexus of both the regional and the intercity transportation networks. “Whether you’re coming from the airport, the train station, or by car, this is one of the more accessible urban environments,” says Picket.

And as Center City and University City have been growing towards each other, this building is also well situated to capture the interest of people looking for luxury apartment buildings in Center City as well. “If I lived in this building, and I worked in Center City, I’d be walking to work,” Picket says.

Since this is both an apartment building and an office building, odds are good that some of the tenants who move in will commute to their jobs by elevator, however. And the growth of working from home, which has caused the value of many New York office buildings to plummet, also means that some of these tenants won’t be commuting at all.

Or if they decide they need to vary their routine, their commute will end at Avira’s fully loaded amenity floor.

Avira by the Numbers

Address: 3025 JFK Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Number of units: 326 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, including bi-level penthouses. Micro-studio apartments range in size from 360 to 375 square feet; studios, from 420 to 510 square feet; one-bedrooms, from 540 to 700 square feet; two-bedrooms, from 880 to 1,200 square feet.

Number of parking spaces: 120 (approximate)

Number of bike parking spaces: 50

Pet policy: Pets welcome, up to two per unit. Contact leasing office for details.

Rent ranges: Studios, $1,874 per month and up; one-bedrooms, $2,242 per month and up; two-bedrooms, $3,112 and up. (Current prices are net effective rents after two months free on a 12-month lease. Prices and features are subject to change.)

More information: Avira website:; 215-392-9480