Rittenhouse Square gains a prime addition, while surrounding Philadelphia neighborhoods attain significant upgrades.
AQ Rittenhouse anticipates a late fall opening.
Chestnut Street is coming to life with AQ Rittenhouse (2021 Chestnut St.), a new mixed-use building. The lot, previously home to the Mid-City YWCA and vacant since the early 1990s, will hold the 12-story tower featuring 110 luxury apartments as well as ground floor retail/restaurant space. The full-service real estate development company Aquinas Realty Partners purchased the property from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and has vowed to keep the current adjacent tenant, Freire Charter High School, intact. It will occupy a lower level with expanded space and modern amenities.
The tower will stand on a 120,000-square foot foundation in Rittenhouse Square, enhancing the bustling area. “AQ Rittenhouse’s location at 2021 Chestnut Street is one of the most active areas in Philadelphia, the second heaviest traversed by pedestrians. This building will dramatically change the western stretch of Chestnut Street, transforming it to reflect the luxury and style of nearby Rittenhouse Square,” says Leonard Poncia, president of Aquinas Realty Partners. “It’s a fantastic location in a neighborhood where the variety of apartments and the new street-level retail and restaurant space that AQ Rittenhouse will provide is in high demand. The area is alive with so much to do and enjoy.”
Accompanying the prime location are impressive amenities within its variety of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments, including “luxurious granite countertops, elegant hardwood floors, and stainless steel appliances,” says Poncia. “Residents will have access to a vibrant central outdoor courtyard and garden on the second floor and rooftop urban sky terrace offering panoramic views of Rittenhouse Square and the Philadelphia skyline. The sky terrace with hot tub, grills, fire pits, and a rooftop lounge will offer residents unique opportunities to host gatherings and social events.” AQ caters to enhancing the lifestyle of its residences, and with an anticipated opening date coming in late fall 2014, the property will promote a first-class hotel feel in each of its units and throughout the main floors.
The new Courtyard Marriott is The Navy Yard’s first hotel.
The Navy Yard welcomed its first hotel with the official opening of the Courtyard Marriott (1001 Intrepid Ave.). Managed by Marriott International and owned by Ensemble Hotel Partners, the property stands five stories tall and features 172 rooms, including eight suites and 1,800 square feet of conference room space. The new property joins the long-standing ranks of Marriott hotel chains, becoming “one of the first properties in the Select Service and Extended Stay line of Marriott hotels to open in 2014,” according to Marriott International COO David Marriott.
The hotel features amenities aimed at business professionals, with contemporary meeting spaces complete with WiFi, media pods, and a variety of seating zones in order to accommodate the large workforce in the area. “Our location here at The Navy Yard puts us at the center of activity, with the hotel situated conveniently between the Philadelphia Airport and Center City Philadelphia and with easy access to public transportation,” says general manager Derek Beckman. “Our hotel is not only an important part of the tourism and hospitality community in Philadelphia, but also a fantastic new resource for the over 11,000 people working in The Navy Yard every day.” The close proximity to Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field will also bring a slew of business from sports fans during the seasons.
The hotel’s location marks a big change for the area; it’s a departure that Ensemble Hotel Partners knew was necessary. “Ensemble Hotel Partners was excited to hear about this project back in 2012 and recognized the tremendous potential for a hotel in The Navy Yard, an area that is responsible for so much traffic and industry in Philadelphia,” says Ensemble COO Ed Proenza. “Opening the first hotel in The Navy Yard is a great accomplishment for Ensemble and a great addition to one of Philadelphia’s most important economic hubs.”
The Navy Yard joins the 900 other Courtyard hotels as the newest member of the Marriott Family. “The Navy Yard is changing the business landscape of Philadelphia,” says David Marriott, “and Marriott is proud to be a part of its growth.”
The future site of Spruce Street Harbor Park will have a built-out landscape.
Penn’s Landing Marina will be abuzz this summer as the temporary pop-up Spruce Street Harbor Park makes its way to the Delaware River Waterfront. The park, created by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation and developed by Groundswell Design Group, Interface Studios, and Digsau, will arrive on June 27 and is scheduled to last until the end of August. “Expect to be blown away; we’re pulling out all the stops on this one,” says David Fierabend, Groundswell Design Group principle.
The developers are creating a built-out landscape featuring The Oasis, a floating restaurant and bar that extends into the water using a series of nets. The restaurant will sit on one of three floating barges alongside a lily pad garden and seating area. Visitors will also be able to enjoy a hammock lounge, fire pit installations at night, a makeshift boardwalk featuring concessions and arcades, an urban pebble beach complete with lounge chairs and oversize umbrellas, and a mist walk to cool off on during the hottest summer days. “Spruce Street Harbor Park engages the river and presents the region with one of the best, and coolest, places to be during the hot summer in Philadelphia. The [harbor’s amenities] create a physical connection back to the water and provide people with a unique opportunity to connect with the river and relax at Penn’s Landing,” says Jodie Milkman, VP of communications and programming of the Delaware River Waterfront Corp. “This new park complements the full season of summer events at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing by creating a beautiful park and public space for people to sit back, relax, and enjoy the waterfront all summer long.” The two-month-long venture has no entrance fee and will extend south from the Independence Seaport Museum at Columbus Boulevard and Spruce Street.
Carpenter Square is an 11-unit residential home and commercial property project in Southwest Center City.
The Graduate Hospital neighborhood is expanding as Carpenter Square (1001-1023 S. 17th St.) has set its sites on the Southwest Center City area. The project, complete with 11 residential homes and a first-floor commercial property, is situated on the corner of 17th and Carpenter Streets, with 1,000 square feet of outdoor space.
MR Scott Development LLC is heading the development process and Michelle Ashley of Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors is the head realtor as well as interior designer. Both key players live in the neighborhood, with Ashley living right on the premises in a custom home she developed, allowing her to give the developers firsthand insight on what the area needs and what this new building will bring to the Graduate Hospital area.
A community park is being developed adjacent to the Carpenter Square property. Named Carpenter Green, the park will be easily accessible for both residents and patrons of the tenants occupying the commercial property. “The dedicated outdoor space, coupled with the public plaza, will allow this corner to be the gathering space for the neighborhood.” says Jackie Balin, a retail broker for the property. “This corner will be like Fitler Square.”
The building itself comes equipped with sustainability-focused features such as Energy Star—qualified fixtures, green roofs for water retention and storm-water management, and super-efficient HVAC systems. “When I moved into the area almost nine years ago, I could only dream of having a neighborhood park, a restaurant with outdoor seating, and a stunning new construction development within eyeshot of my house,” says Ashley. “Now it’s quickly becoming a reality.”
photography by BLT Architects (Aqrittenhouse); rj hamilton photography (navy yard); drew callaghan (carpenter square); rendering by blt architects; groundswell design group (spruce)