As if Sofitel weren’t already a luxurious place to spend an evening away from home, the hotel’s recent renovations have surely enhanced the experience. Following upgrades to its meeting spaces and the opening of the lounge Liberté, Sofitel’s guest rooms and lobby have received a complete makeover—influenced by a renowned local landmark.
“The Rodin Museum was an ideal inspiration for the renovation because, like Sofitel, it serves as an ambassador for French culture in the United States and especially here in Philadelphia,” says general manager Vincent Vienne. “The Sofitel wants every guest experience to be magnifique, and the tasteful, arts-centric renovation added new depth while maintaining our luxurious French elegance.”
The elegant design of Sofitel’s renovated lobby was inspired by the Rodin Museum.
Combining design elements from the Rodin’s gardens and its Beaux Arts style, Sofitel’s 306 guest rooms and 67 suites are now a vision of French sophistication. “A soft, natural palette of light woods, pale green, and cream dominate the space, and custom carpeting and drapes stylize the stepping-stones, greenery, and lattice of the museum’s formal French gardens,” says Vienne, who also notes the juxtaposition of the rooms’ plush velvet headboards and modern, streamlined lounge furniture. Adding a hint of artistic drama to every room, a contemporary painting influenced by Rodin hangs over each bed.
Although the hotel’s new interior is as beautiful as ever, appearance wasn’t the only factor in mind during the renovation. “In addition to the aesthetic update, the remodel included the most eco-friendly, sustainable materials available, to support Sofitel’s ongoing efforts to minimize waste and maximize efficiency throughout its global network,” says Vienne. “Guests can feel good about their impact on the environment while enjoying the luxury the Sofitel brand has to offer.” (120 S. 17th St., 215-569-8300)
3601 Market Street, a luxury residence coming to University City.
“3601 Market is a new alternative for doctors, nurses, professors, and young professionals and graduate students who work or attend school in the area,” says Michael L. Prifti, a principal of BLT Architects, which designed the building. “The location of this development creates a walkable experience along 36th Street from Penn’s campus at Walnut Street and connecting to future development by Drexel University to the north.”
The building’s modern design will include a façade constructed mainly of glass and metal, plus outdoor areas, 15,000 square feet of retail space, and a 200-car garage. Some 375 rental units—with stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops—will be enhanced by amenities such as an extensive fitness center and an elevated pool on the sixth floor roof deck. The property will also be built at a 30-degree angle to “look over the shoulder of the existing building to the east, allowing for light and better views for residents,” says Prifti. 3601 Market is slated for completion in 2015.
Leo Addimando of Alterra Property Group
Center City will also welcome a new mixed-use building, but instead of being constructed from the ground up, ICON (1616 Walnut St., 215-843-4266) will take over the historic property at its site. The project, with an estimated completion date of May 2014, is a joint venture of Alterra Property Group, Cross Properties, and Federal Capital Partners.
“ICON presents an incomparable opportunity to live in what has long been considered one of the most breathtaking buildings in Philadelphia,” says Leo Addimando, managing partner of Alterra Property Group. “Mixing the beauty of the past with the modern amenities of today, this incredible new luxury apartment building—included on the National Register of Historic Places—soars to new heights, just like its iconic, ziggurat-topped peak.”
The roof of ICON.
Having opened in 1930, the building has a design featuring the dramatic geometric shapes of the Art Deco era. ICON’s key elements include 206 residential units (studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments), a 150-spot valet parking garage, and 25,000 square feet of retail space. A sky deck with a grilling station, herb garden, and outdoor living area; a wellness floor with a massage room and yoga studio; and a club level featuring a kitchen and media rooms are among the luxury amenities available to residents.
As Kevin Michals, principal of Cross Properties, explains, reusing a historic property comes with multiple advantages beyond its architectural beauty: “The careful adaptive reuse of [historic] buildings benefits three parties. The developers receive Federal Historic Tax Credits related to a percentage of the hard construction costs, plus proceeds from the sale of these tax credits to a buyer, which lowers the overall cost of the project and acts as remuneration for the limitations placed on the developers for the preservation. Buyers of the tax credit benefit by receiving a federal tax credit against their corporate tax bill, and as citizens we all benefit from preserving a piece of history and [having] a unique place to live. It’s truly a win-win.”