New projects, both locally and at the Shore, continue to prove the region’s growing prominence within the real estate sphere.
The Breakers’ kitchens.
Perhaps one of the largest developments to hit Philadelphia this year is the SLS International Hotel & Residences (Broad and Spruce Streets)—a major collaboration between Dranoff Properties, one of the nation’s foremost developers, and the industry-leading hospitality, lifestyle, and real estate development company, sbe. The 47-story tower will be the tallest residentially focused building in Pennsylvania and will bring to the city 150 boutique hotel rooms and 125 luxury condos for rent.
“By placing condominiums and a hotel at the same address, the advantages are twofold,” says president and founder Carl Dranoff of the decision to build the multiuse property. “We can provide visitors and business travelers with the opportunity to stay in one of the nation’s premier luxury residential buildings while also offering condominium residents the amenities of a five-star hotel.” Among the perks that the SLS will offer: a fully landscaped terrace, an Olympic-size pool, state-of-the-art fitness and spa facilities, and around-the-clock food service. Luxuries aside, Dranoff is quick to stress the economic benefit of the project as well. “Beyond the glamour and vitality that it will bring to South Broad, the SLS International Hotel & Residences is a project that will create jobs for Philadelphia construction, hospitality, and service contracts,” he says. “This is the type of project that is going to have a critical ripple effect on our local economy but also has the potential to create a tidal wave for other bold projects to come to fruition.”
The SLS is a bold project indeed—one whose potential is due in part to sbe’s tight grasp on the hospitality business worldwide. “From years of development, I have a simple rule: ‘Find and work with the best.’ And that’s exactly what we did for the SLS International,” Dranoff says of partnering with sbe, whose flagship brands include SLS Hotels, The Bazaar by José Andrés in Miami Beach, and Hyde Lounges. “[Sbe Founder, Chairman, and CEO] Sam Nazarian is a dynamic visionary, and sbe aligns perfectly with what Dranoff Properties has always aimed to deliver—exceptional service and luxury. His belief in the greatness of our city is equal to my own.”
Master bath at The Breakers.
Taking shape at the Shore is The Breakers at Atlantic City (4100 Atlantic Ave., 866-410-0285), a gated community of oceanfront townhomes. Situated on a complete square block in the Lower Chelsea neighborhood, The Breakers offers Shore residents the utmost in luxury living right on the Atlantic Ocean. “The Breakers is like nothing else around here—there has never been a luxury, gated community on the ocean [in Atlantic City] before,” says Paula Hartman of Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors (9218 Ventnor Ave., Margate, 609-822-4200). “Every detail has been so well planned for the luxury buyer.”
The first phase of construction includes 12 townhomes—each with four bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, a private elevator, rooftop deck, optional private pool, garage, and top-of-the-line finishes throughout. State-of-the-art technology gives residents direct access to video of the front gates and surrounding property, which can be controlled from inside the home or from a cell phone. “The Breakers will redefine the word ‘luxury,’ which is often used but never realized,” brags builder Joseph Zarrelli.
The Breakers’ living spaces feature top-of-the-line amenities.
The structure of the property was designed with just as much consideration, especially taking into account the aftereffects of Hurricane Sandy. Standing seam roofs, deeper and stronger foundations, and extraordinary amounts of steel for wind resistance topped the list of priorities when building. Zarrelli also notes that the units are “being built two to three feet above the base flood elevation and are located on one of the highest points of Atlantic City.” At completion, The Breakers will include side units, a community pool, and additional townhomes depending on demand.
One of Center City’s historic properties has recently gone green with a slew of renovations that complement and restore the building’s historic qualities. The Touraine (1520 Spruce St., 215-735-8618), a residential hotel designed by architect Frederick Weber in 1917, saw its lobby, hallways, and elevators extensively made over, with many individual units undergoing similar transformations. “The building itself has such an old world, architecturally interesting legacy, and it was time for the present design to match these characteristics,” says Liz Solms, co-owner of the property. “In renovating The Touraine, I wanted to highlight the amazing ‘bones’ that were already there while playing up the history of the building.”
To enhance the grand lobby—complete with original crown molding and fluted columns—LED lights were installed at the base of the columns and custom bookshelves were made to flank the gorgeous fireplace. A deep purple patterned rug sets the stage for a variety of posh seating options and simple, modern light fixtures add a sense of sophistication to the space. Sticking to her commitment to sustainability, most of the materials Solms used in the renovations were made by local artisans.
The open spaces at Zabels Row give the townhomes a loftlike feel.
In the Northern Liberties neighborhood, the newly constructed Zabels Row combines the feeling of loft-style living into a trio of 3,000-square-foot private townhomes. Designed with the residents’ everyday routines in mind, the modern units are both spacious and practical, with luxury amenities to boot. “Our first goal in designing each one of our homes is to answer the question, ‘How will our homeowners live [here]?’” says Nino Cutrufello of Callahan Ward Companies (2610 Hirst Terr., Havertown, 484-454-3281). “It is always most important for us to design a home that makes sense for people’s everyday lives.”
Each of the three homes at Zabels Row includes three bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, a full basement with the option to custom finish, hand-scraped hardwood floors throughout, and a rooftop deck with panoramic views of the skyline. Also unique to these properties are their building footprints, which Cutrufello says are closer to a square than the long narrow shape typically associated with a Philadelphia townhome. “In addition to being able to achieve a two-car garage for each home, the square footprint allowed us to realize something closer to a loft effect on the inside of the home as opposed to a traditional townhome feel,” he says. “We then complemented this open plan with 10-foot ceilings on the main living level and plenty of windows.”
Icon’s 25th-story roof deck is a tranquil oasis from city noise.
History meets modernity at new luxury apartment building ICON (1616 Walnut St.). Situated in the heart of Center City, the Art Deco address, originally built in 1929 and listed on both the National and Philadelphia Registers of Historic Places, is home to 206 luxury apartments and 160 parking spaces and features a concierge service, pet grooming station, and sky deck with panoramic views.
“Our goal was ‘first class’ from project inception: from the amenities to the finishes to the location,” says Kevin Michals, principal, Cross Properties. “We’ve created social spaces like the rooftop lounge with its fireplace, herb garden, and sky library, as well as a wellness floor, on-site nutritionists and personal trainers, a bikeshare program, and more.” The venture also includes Federal Capital Partners and Alterra Property Group.
Expansive views can be found within any one of the 25-story building’s studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom residences. Finishes like quartz countertops, engineered hardwood floors, and stainless steel appliances are complementary accents to the Art Deco style throughout each apartment, a design scheme dreamt up by Philadelphia interior design firm Floss Barber.
“We were inspired by the perfect examples of Art Deco that exist on the façade and the first floor lobby,” says Barber, CEO and principal designer. “The combination of geometric forms and subtle colors in perfect balance and harmony is truly unique. We used this inspiration as the basis of the color palette in the building. Our team custom-designed an Axminster carpet for the public spaces, which is a direct takeoff of the lobby architecture. When hard surfaces were required, we utilized tile that echoed the design. It was important to respect and not overpower the Art Deco details that exist.”
The most-talked about and innovative feature of Icon is the debut of Philadelphia’s first-ever Well Signature Residences. Designed by Delos, a wellness firm that typically works on hotel projects, every unit on the ninth floor will feature designs and technologies created for a healthier lifestyle. There are lighting strategies to regulate melatonin levels for improved sleep; advanced air purification and water filtration systems; vitamin-C shower infusion to neutralize chlorine; and antimicrobial coatings on bacteria-gathering surfaces.
“Our decision to partner with Delos, the architect of the new Well Building Standard, and provide Well Signature Residences for our most health-conscious residents aligns with Icon’s overall acknowledgment of a healthy lifestyle. Our residents are successful, savvy city dwellers who are always on the go. If we can offer everything they need to maintain a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle all under one roof, why wouldn’t they want to live here?” says Michals.
photography by kohn pederson fox (sls); callahan ward (zabels row)