Philadelphia's skyline is poised for big changes. Local brokers discuss the uptick in residential real estate.
The Rittenhouse Hotel and Condominiums are part of the growing trend of luxury properties in and around Center City.
Known for their expertise in constructing Philadelphia’s most luxurious properties, Gary W. Greenip of ACG Partners and The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton (1414 South Penn Sq., 31st Fl., 215-851-8000) and Diane Bryant and Margie Wilde of Bryant & Wilde Realty (210 W. RittenhouseSq., 215-893-6100) share their v iews on our changing skyline and what we should envision for the future of Philadelphia. Here’s a little preview: Things are looking up.
In the coming year, Philadelphia’s skyline is looking at big additions and significant revisions. How do you think these changes will affect the city? GG: A changing skyline being populated with new and beautiful feats of residential and commercial architecture within any historically significant city indirectly screams success, and it’s contagious. New and better-paying jobs reach to support every aspect of a healthy city economy. The more people who live in Center City, the more money spent, which creates even more jobs and opportunities. MW: I think [these changes] will only improve Center City residential life as well as the restaurant, shopping, and cultural aspects of the city. The trend in the last 10-plus-years has shown people gravitating toward living in city environments, so anything being built will only serve to continue the flow of people moving into the city.
What about Philadelphia makes building here so attractive?
DB: I think Philadelphia is a very livable, affordable town. If you look at New York and Washington and Boston, the value for what you pay is much more valuable here than compared to the selling prices in those cities. I also think the 10-year real estate tax abatement is attractive because it spurs on new purchases. This helps developers when they are trying to sell out a new building. GG: Prices help, of course, and buyers want a convenient location. Purely from a building perspective, Philadelphia’s residential prices per square foot for luxury housing alone have to be one of the best overall value propositions in the entire US, given the overabundance of historically significant attractions in Center City combined with museums and theaters, and easy access to the Shore.
Do you think the city should expect a continuous increase in high-end properties in and around Center City? GG: Yes, you should expect very good times ahead for residential housing in Center City. Both the newly announced Scannapieco and Dranoff luxury residential high rises are perfect examples of [a market meeting] the current shortage of luxury properties. For us at The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, these properties are fantastic developments and clearly represent a rising tide that will raise all the boats from a price perspective. MW: Inventory levels for high-end properties are low and selling quickly, so there is an expected increase for more. For instance, David Marshall is offering t hree new condos on the 19th floor of the Rittenhouse Hotel and Condominiums. The new development will offer ceilings up to 14 feet, terraces from 2,400 to 3,000 square feet, and floor space of 8,000 square feet. New development contributes to the need for luxury residences.
What does the growing skyline mean for our national image?
MW: It places Philadelphia as a growing urban city environment in a very good geographical location close to New York and Washington and makes it very accessible. GG: Philadelphia is known for its rich heritage and multitude of contributions for being who and what we are today as a country. All the new buildings are telling a wider success story that simply broadens the phenomenal Philadelphia legacy.
How do you think these changes will affect things like residential pricing, taxes, and overstock? GG: Real estate taxes still require more attention among the elected city leaders who are moving in the right direction. But, more progress is still necessary to ensure effective buying incentives are in place to pave the path for continued growth in real estate and population.
How are new hospitality projects (SLS International Hotel/Condo, Kimpton, W hotel) impacting development and/or changing the city’s image for the better? GG: Each one of these very costly projects populates a neighborhood with a new, magnificent building that beautifies our skyline, adds restaurants and shops for its guests, and allows them to enjoy other local business while leaving some discretionary dollars in Center City. Once that happens, then the cycle begins, with each of these new projects creating jobs and widening the population.