May 17, 2017
By Jessica Green | January 22, 2016 | Home & Real Estate
A revamped Market Street, a transformed historic landmark, and a residential site on North Broad enter the Philadelphia real estate scene.
East Market will transform the area between Market and Chestnut Streets from 11th to 12th Street with residential, retail, and restaurant additions.
The one-time epicenter of the city is poised for a comeback. Spanning 4.3 acres, the development known as East Market (21 S. 12th St., 202-496-3370) is transforming the area between Market and Chestnut Streets from 11th to 12th Street, creating new residential units, restaurant space, and retail opportunities. “East Market is in the heart of Center City,” says Daniel Killinger, managing director of National Real Estate Development, the company overseeing the project. “The goal is to combine modern office and apartment spaces with cool new retailers, all in one micro neighborhood in the center of it all.”
Historically, this area of Market Street was a hub of the Philadelphia shopping scene. “Market Street was always the Philadelphia retail main street—the home of Wanamaker’s and Strawbridge & Clothier,” says Killinger. “[This project] is building on that history.” The anchor tenant will be The Design Center (currently the Marketplace Design Center), which will be relocating to the former Family Court building along 11th Street. “Having The Design Center is perfect—entrepreneurial companies focusing on fabrics, furnishings, or rugs,” says Killinger. “This is where the architects and design firms already are, so it’s reestablishing this neighborhood as that design part of the city.” MOM’s Organic Market, a specialty organic grocer, is also confirmed, with restaurant deals and retail projects being announced in the coming months.
For tourists and locals alike, East Market will change the way people access Center City. “On one side we have the Convention Center, Reading Terminal Market, and the Liberty Bell, all six blocks to the east, and City Hall two blocks to the west,” says Killinger. “So for visitors, walking one block off of Market Street to Ludlow to [some of] Philly’s best boutiques and shops, will make them feel like locals quickly.” For current residents of surrounding neighborhoods like Midtown Village and Washington Square West, the project makes their part of the city instantly more walkable.
Phase one is under development now and focuses on the buildings facing Market Street. When that phase is complete in the fall of 2016, the development will include 130,000 square feet of retail space, 160,000 square feet of office space, 322 residential units, and below-grade parking areas. “For the people who live in the area, it will be another anchor destination in their mental map of Philly,” says Killinger, who grew up in Philadelphia.
A little over a mile up the road sits a new four-acre mixed-use development, including a residential complex, at 1300 Fairmount. RAL Companies & Affiliates, a family-owned, New York–based powerhouse whose properties include the Four Seasons in Vail, Colorado, and the Porspérité barge in France, is joining the Philadelphia real estate market in a big way with this project situated along North Broad. “We’re excited about working in Philadelphia,” says Spencer Levine, director of landscape architecture and site development at RAL. “We’ve had a great experience working with the city and the different stakeholders on this project. It’s an exciting re-entry point for RAL.”
The development at 1300 Fairmount is located adjacent to the historic Divine Lorraine Hotel, a consideration that influenced its design. “The building has been put together to respond to adjacent developments,” says Spencer. “There is consideration in the architectural design of what’s there now and what will be there in the future.” Due to the scale of the 1300 Fairmount property, the developers found a mixed-use plan to be most appropriate. “We sat down with the city’s administration,” says Robert Levine, president and CEO of RAL, “and together we worked up some programs that would appeal to both the city and the community surrounding the property.”
The ground floor will hold retail space, creating a commercial corridor along Ridge Avenue, while the residential space will have frontal facades along the north and east sides of the property. “One of the big goals of the project was to activate the different street frontages,” says Spencer. “Because the site is so large, it can really have a game-changing position in the city.” To enhance the residential experience, 1300 Fairmount will have an extensive amenity package, including a gym, parking, and a communal roof deck with outdoor dining space and sweeping views of Center City. “We want to create a community feel where it’s everyone’s backyard on that roof,” says Spencer.
RAL hopes the project will boost the area as a whole. “It’s the geographic midpoint of Center City and Temple University,” says Robert, “so we hope it will also be a catalyst along North Broad in making that corridor more pedestrian friendly and a better experience for all.”
In Center City, a landmark building is being renovated into upscale residential space. The Versailles (1530 Locust St., 215-545-1039), built in 1920 and designed by Philadelphia architect Fredrick Webber, is being transformed into 112 apartments, all paying homage to the building’s name with a European aesthetic alongside updated amenities. “We have seen a demand for larger two- and three-bedroom rental units that provide an alternative to high-end condos,” says Doug Jordan, managing partner of Alterra Property Group, who is handling the development. “This building will help meet that demand, allowing young families to grow and empty nesters to downsize from their larger suburban homes.”
Amenities include Carrara white marble, natural wood flooring, and wall-to-wall windows, with many units also having French doors and Juliet balconies. The lobby will maintain the original architectural details from the historic building, which was important to Alterra. “We are turning the page to a new chapter for this storied building,” says Jordan, “while honoring its historic charm and elegance.”
The rooftop will offer space for grilling and lounging, as well as a dog run. A yoga studio, business center, children’s center, and media room round out the amenities. “I walk by this project on my way to work, so it brings me great pleasure knowing we will be transforming not only the building, but the corner that it sits on,” says Jordan.
The iconic Ritz-Carlton (10 Avenue of the Arts, 215-523-8000) is making some major changes. By spring 2016, the Ritz will have all-new guest rooms, meeting rooms, and a modernized restaurant, along with updates to the lobby and overall décor. Wimberly Interiors is handling the redesign, which will pay tribute to the original building, first opened as The Girard Trust Company in 1908. “The design of the guest rooms will tell a story through neutral colors, textures, and materials of money and currency, with pops of metallic and bronze, bringing a fresh, sophisticated feel to the hotel,” says general manager Darryll Adams. “The rooms will feature distinct spaces for work and relaxation; the meeting spaces will be updated with a nod to the past through historical motifs in the furniture details.”
When completed, the hotel, which will stay open throughout the renovations, will be updated with modern fixtures and clean lines. “The city is ever evolving, and we have hosted global events with the entire world looking at us,” says Adams. “It’s time for our hotel to give back to the city and [give Philadelphians] a well-designed and thoughtful renewal of one of the world’s most iconic brands.”
illustration courtesy of Blt architects