The Library Bar.
The Library Barâ€™s glass map of the city.
Designer Alexandra Champalimaud.
An artistâ€™s rendering of Carpenter Square.
Linden Hillâ€™s manor house and many outbuildings recall a miniature village.
One of the estateâ€™s eight fireplaces.
By Alexandra Leshner and Timothy Marcin | September 19, 2013 | Home & Real Estate
For next year’s 25th anniversary, The Rittenhouse Hotel (210 W. Rittenhouse Sq., 215-546-9000) has embarked on a $10 million revitalization project. A mainstay of Philly’s luxury hospitality business, The Rittenhouse has initiated a series of enhancements that began with the debut of its new Library Bar in June and will continue with a full redesign of the hotel’s lobby and reception area, as well as the addition of five deluxe Park Suites. Led by internationally recognized designer Alexandra Champalimaud, the redesign of the iconic building’s interior will maintain the elegance and chic style The Rittenhouse is known for.
“With the hotel’s anniversary quickly approaching, we wanted to recognize The Rittenhouse’s rich history and celebrate its special place in Philadelphia culture,” says general manager Reginald Archambault. “The Library Bar offers a sophisticated escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and is the perfect way to toast the past 25 years and thank our loyal guests, while looking forward to the next 25 years and beyond.”
Clean lines mix with Old World–inspired accents in the Library Bar, named for the collection of books and fine art inside. Located just off the lobby, the 20-seat space features dark wood paneling and ochre leather bar stools and banquettes. An etched glass map of old Philadelphia draws attention to the back bar, which was crafted from Macassar ebony and has a Carrara marble top. Open daily from 2 pm to midnight, the Library Bar boasts an elaborate menu of artisanal cocktails and gourmet bar snacks, courtesy of master mixologist Pablo Hurtado and Executive Chef Jon Cichon.
Also undergoing a massive renovation is SugarHouse Casino (1001 N. Delaware Ave., 877-477-3715). Approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in May, the casino’s development plans will not only enhance the gaming experience but are expected to have a significant economic impact as well. According to Wendy Hamilton, general manager of SugarHouse, the makeover, estimated to cost $155 million, will create “500 new, permanent jobs and 1,600 direct and indirect construction jobs, as well as increase revenue to the city and Commonwealth.”
Included in the expansion—which will more than double the property’s square footage—are a parking garage, a poker room, an event and conference center, several waterfront restaurants, and a VIP gaming space, lounge, and parking area. “Expansion will maximize our Delaware River location by showcasing panoramic views and waterfront assets,” says Hamilton. “Through added amenities, our guests will be able to enjoy a show, multiple dining options, and other perks, all while taking in the Ben Franklin Bridge and the city skyline.”
Construction is predicted to take approximately two years, and Hamilton says the renovations will do much to boost the overall guest experience: “SugarHouse will transform into a world-class entertainment destination with a diverse restaurant mix, event facilities, and exclusive space for VIP customers.”
Changing the look of Ventnor’s oceanfront is The Waves (111 S. Little Rock Ave., Ventnor City, NJ, 609-335-9292). This $25 million luxury property is giving the area its first substantial new residential real estate since Hurricane Sandy. “The Waves will be a transformative project that will affect the Jersey Shore in a most positive way,” says David Perlman, president of PRDC and Pelican Properties. “Taking a run-down, unoccupied Monaco Motel and building 27 new contemporary beachfront and beach-block homes will be the largest residential real estate development in all of Atlantic County in the last quarter-century.”
The oceanfront homes will each include four bedrooms and four and a half baths within approximately 2,800 square feet, while the 2,600-square-foot beach-block homes will each have five bedrooms and four full baths. All units will feature floor-to-ceiling windows, unique outdoor areas, and open designs, with custom finishings available to all buyers. The groundbreaking took place in July, and construction is tentatively set to end in fall 2014.
Revitalizing the Graduate Hospital area is Carpenter Square (1003-1023 S. 17th St., 215-681-5039). The building will boast 11 LEED-qualified townhomes, plus a corner commercial property topped with six condominiums, and approximately 1,000 square feet of outdoor space.
“This is the last large parcel of land in Graduate Hospital and an opportunity to develop something that will be an anchor to the east end of the neighborhood,” says Michelle Ashley of Prudential Fox & Roach, Realtors, and part of the development team. “The goal was to build a green, sustainable, mixed-use development that would offer a blend of luxury residences, a commercial space—ideally a restaurant with outdoor seating—and an outdoor plaza that the neighborhood could enjoy.”
Each of the luxury townhomes comes with three bedrooms, two and a half baths, multiple outdoor terraces, gated parking, and optional upgrades, including gas fireplaces, a wet bar, and a rooftop patio. The 2,500-square-foot dwellings also feature multiple green amenities, including Energy Star–qualified windows and appliances, low-flow fixtures, and a green roof. The six condos consist of both one- and two-bedroom units, each with at least one outdoor balcony. “Buyers can expect each stunning townhome to incorporate modern design, eco-friendly materials, and energy-efficient systems,” says Ashley. “We’re helping to change the perception of the surrounding area by building something beautiful, something unique.” Multiple townhomes at Carpenter Square have already been sold, although a completion date for the project has not been set.
The Main Line real estate market has been quite bountiful recently, with an increase in large, expensive homes being put up for sale. Most notably, the $24.5 million home of Robert L. and Susan Burch, Linden Hill, went on the market in June, drawing local and national attention to this historic estate on more than 50 sprawling acres in Gladwyne.
“It is truly a one-of-a-kind property, nationally recognized, and without question the crown jewel of our marketplace,” says Eleanor Morsbach Godin (610-636-7455), one of two agents at Prudential Fox & Roach, Realtors listing the property (the other is John C. Dubbs Jr.; 610-999-0588). “What’s truly remarkable is that you can have a country-home lifestyle in one of the [nation’s] most exclusive suburban areas: The charming town of Gladwyne has been identified as one of the best small towns in the area.”
Formerly owned by Jack Dorrance, whose family invented Campbell’s condensed soup, the home was built by Edmund Gilchrist in 1929. The focal point of the property is the French Norman–style manor house, with its exquisite architectural detail and unmatched amenities. It has seven bedrooms, eight full and three half baths, eight fireplaces, English oak flooring, and 10- to 14-foot ceilings.
“Linden Hill is a warm and welcoming home and offers an unprecedented opportunity for a family who is seeking complete privacy and a country-estate lifestyle with every possible amenity,” says Morsbach Godin. “The buyer of this property will appreciate its quality and respect its important legacy. The multiple outbuildings also make it appealing for a family compound.” The outdoor areas are just as remarkable, with formal gardens, two swimming pools, a pool house, and a tennis court. The variety of outbuildings surrounding the main house include a two-story guesthouse with a living room, dining room, kitchen, two bedrooms, two baths, and a garage; a turreted caretakers’ house containing four bedrooms and two baths; and a guest cottage with a kitchen, a living and dining room, two bedrooms, and two baths. A 10-car garage and a barn with horse stalls is also on Linden Hill’s lengthy list of luxury features.
photography courtesy of SugarHouse Casino (sugarhouse); paul s. bartholomew (library bar); Herb Engelsberg (linden hill)