Philadelphia’s sizzling real estate market is breaking records and making history. Make yourself at home in these hot high rises, posh pads and suburban estates.
The Laurel is ready to make history. The last developable lot in Rittenhouse Square is poised to make history when The Laurel (thelaurelrittenhouse.com) debuts as the tallest residential-only building in Philadelphia. Named after Pennsylvania’s state flower, the $300 million, 48-story tower will be home to approximately 54 condominiums in addition to both long- and short-term residences, plus a five-star fitness center with its very own Peloton studio, an indoor pool and a spa. Designed by international architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz, The Laurel will also feature expansive corner residences with panoramic views of the city and white-glove amenities. Upon completion, 24,000 square feet of high-end retail will be added to the neighborhood thanks to the residence, wrapping around Walnut, Sansom and 20th streets. Living in the sky-high building will come at a premium—and with a long wait: Sales of the luxury residences start near $2.5 million, but construction doesn’t begin until 2019.
From the new Comcast Technology Center to ultra luxury residential buildings like 500 Walnut, the Greater Philadelphia area has seen a robust year in both residential and nonresidential construction. According to Dodge Data & Analytics, total building activity in both categories totaled $9.12 billion for 11 months in 2017—a 57 percent increase from the $5.86 billion calculated in 2016. Within this amount, nonresidential real estate projects totaled $5.82 billion, while residential construction amounted to $3.37 billion across the 11 counties stretching from Bucks County to Wilmington, Del.
Center City experienced another record-breaking year in residential construction, according to the 2018 State of Center City Philadelphia statistics by the Center City District and Central Philadelphia Development Corporation. There were 2,680 new residences built in 2017, out of which, 71 percent were apartments. Eighteen percent were single-family homes, while condos jumped to 10 percent (the previous year being only five). And that’s not all. Since 2000, there have been a significant amount of newly constructed residential units added to the Greater Center City market—23,285 to be exact.
Allan Domb breaks down two markets that have the keys to the Philadelphia kingdom. “There are two markets in the city: millennials and baby boomers,” says Allan Domb, high-profile real-estate developer and councilman at-large for Philadelphia City Council. Domb, who built his brokerage firm from the ground up starting in 1980, is a veritable encyclopedia of facts, figures and statistics about the regional market—and especially its inhabitants. While many millennials are moving into hot new neighborhoods like Fishtown and Kensington, baby boomers that want to trade the suburbs for the city are facing challenges, says Domb. “I’ve had clients who have been looking for over a year [for a home in the city]. During that time, their suburban home prices have gone down and Center City prices have gone up, and the price gap is too great now. Waiting has cost them their ability to move into town.” For millennials who are eager to put down permanent roots in Philadelphia’s up-and-coming neighborhoods, Domb says Port Richmond, areas west of Drexel University and around University of Pennsylvania’s Pennovation Works building are ones to watch.
One Riverside’s choice location is a hit with buyers. The latest sale of One Riverside’s (oneriversidecondos.com) only bi level penthouse for $7 million was the cherry on top to what has been a sales-busting year for the high-rise on the Schuylkill River. With only two of the 68 condos remaining, the glassy tower has attracted empty-nesters and eds and meds for one big reason: location. “Interest at One Riverside has been extremely high because of its premier location in Fitler Square on the Schuylkill River Trail,” says Marianne Harris, vice president of sales, marketing and leasing. The indoor lap pool, underground parking with valet service and sweeping city views sure don’t hurt either.