Luxury living expands in Philadelphia and the suburbs with sky-high condominiums and lavish single-family homes.
Apartments at The Residences at Two Liberty will feature chef-designed kitchens.
When scanning the Philadelphia skyline, Two Liberty Place is not easily missed. Standing 58 stories tall, the skyscraper is the third-largest building in the city, with views to match. Back in 2007, the housing portion of the building—The Residences at Two Liberty Place (50 S. 16th St., 215- 496-9999)—was launched, but half of the project, floors 48 through 57, was left unfinished by the developer. In stepped iStar, a real estate investment firm known for high-profile condos and projects through- out Miami, New York, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia, including the iconic 10 Rittenhouse. “Our original plan was to convert those floors to a high-end hotel,” says Cynthia Tucker, senior vice president at iStar Financial. “But as the condo market continued to improve and with the quick sellout of 10 Rittenhouse, we decided condos made better sense.”
New construction on the empty floors created 58 new units, with two different types of condos for residents to choose from. “There are two distinct collections of residences in the new development,” says Tucker. “The Skyline Collection consists of two- and three- bedroom units with flexible layouts from floors 48 through 54. [The] 12 Penthouse Collection units are available from floors 54 through 56 and have layouts inspired by the distinctive angular roofline of the building—there is nothing like it anywhere in the Philadelphia region.”
Taking a cue from residents, iStar also incorporated the existing elements of the building, merging the current restaurant R2L with its plans and connecting the upgraded Shops at Liberty Place to the building. “One of our best assets already in the building (aside from the views) is having R2L and chef Daniel Stern right on our amenity floor, with a private fobbed entrance exclusively for residents,” says Tucker. “We have a proprietary program in place for residents that provides in-home dining, catering, wine storage, and private cooking classes, as well as daily breakfasts prepared by the R2L pastry chef—the homemade granola bars are genius.”
The lobby is decorated with contemporary furniture and a semicircular walnut screen.
Inside, residents can anticipate open layouts, luxury built-ins, huge bathrooms and closets, chef-designed kitchens with the same finishes as 10 Rittenhouse, and walls with two-plus feet of cushion, so you will never hear your neighbors. A floor of amenities will have a billiards room, conference room, new swimming pool, and massage rooms. The new units will be completed by early spring of 2016.
It’s impossible not to slow down as you pass the Liseter (1 Liseter Road, 855-872-8205) while driving along tree-lined Liseter Road in Newtown Square. Built by Toll Brothers, the property has 449 homes, in either single-family or multi-family layouts. “[Toll Brothers] is based out of Horsham, so we have a long history with the city and surrounding area,” says Senior Vice President Brian Thierrin. “We have built several communities along the Main Line over the years, and many on our leadership team live on or around the Main Line, so there is definitely a special connection to Liseter.”
All homeowners in the community, which borders the Episcopal Academy, have access to the 7,000-square-foot clubhouse—previously the historic barn of Jean Liseter du Pont and her prize Welsh ponies—which features a swimming pool, fitness center, and tennis courts. The surrounding area is a 50-acre nature preserve complete with trails for running or relaxing by the lake and gardens. Plus, it is in a prime location with “proximity to the Main Line, major arteries leading to Philadelphia and corporate centers in the area, and to some of the best private schools in the region,” says Thierrin.
But it’s the interiors that keep the properties at Liseter selling. “The buyers are looking for architecture in line with what they are used to in other areas of the Main Line,” says Thierrin. “They are looking for upscale finishes and amenities that are first class. I think we’ve been able to satisfy these needs.” And for those who want something a little different from their neighbors, Toll Brothers’ wide variety of options—from adding extra rooms to making your home environmentally friendly—allow the homeowners to get personal.
All units have open floor plans and two-plus feet of insulation to cancel out noise.
Overlooking Rittenhouse Square, The Alison (1805 Walnut St., 215-545-1500) is poised to become one of the most coveted addresses in the city. Only 19 residences are in the building, ranging in size from 500 square feet to 5,900 square feet. “We invested over $100,000 per home in finished work (in the bathrooms, kitchens, and flooring),” says Allan Domb, developer of The Alison. “The interior has matte liquor cabinets and quartz counters and only four homes per floor.” Plus, every home—from the studio apartment to the penthouse—comes custom-made. “It’s rare that you can rent a home in any city and have it be a custom home,” he notes.
But it’s the location that is key to making these new homes so iconic. “Rittenhouse Square [was ranked] the sixth-best neighborhood in America by the Places Rated Almanac,” says Domb. “It’s a gem of a location.” And all homes in the building will have a view, whether of the park or the courtyard of 10 Rittenhouse. “This building isn’t for everyone,” he points out. “There is a [minimum] two-year lease, so it’s not a transient building. It’s for the resident who wants to make Philadelphia home and stay for a while. You can sign a two-, five-, or even 10-year lease, so you can rent but it can still be your home.”
The building will also have a 24-hour concierge, interiors designed by Joanne Hudson Basics, and floor-to-ceiling marble in the bathroom. “It’s not typical of a rental property,” says Domb. “I would put it more in the category of being one of the nicest condominiums in the city, but for rent.”