Monday, November 17, 2014

380-Foot Glass Tower Planned for City’s Most Historic Neighborhood

Scannapieco Development has announced plans to build a $150 million condominium tower being described as “modern elegance” and “at the crossroads of history” at Fifth and Walnut Streets in the Philadelphia Historic District. The 26-story building will house 40 ultra-luxury residences which will overlook Independence Hall.

Two-story penthouses in the 380-foot tower will feature private elevators, multiple balconies and fireplaces, with asking prices in the $12- $15 million range. Construction will begin in spring 2015, and anticipated to be ready for occupancy in spring 2017.

500 Walnut will be an ultra-luxe residential tower located in the Society Hill neighborhood facing Independence National Historic Park.

Forty residences starting at 2,500 square feet will include 14 private, full-floor 4,200 square foot units that will be fully customizable with expansive balconies, true floor-to-ceiling windows, fireplaces, private elevator access, 11 foot ceilings and some of the most spectacular views ever offered in a center city high rise.

In addition to full-floor units, the tower will include two penthouses that take up multiple stories with more than 8,400 square feet and features such as private interior elevators, multiple balconies and fireplaces. These units are expected to be listed in $12- $15 million range.

The 26-story glass “needle” tower is designed by renowned architect, Cecil Baker, and will bring innovative and thoughtful design to the neighborhood in which it resides.

Its structure will not compete with the iconic historic architecture and is angled in a way that will never interfere with an onlookers view from the Liberty Bell to Independence Hall.

Tom Scannapieco has gained a reputation of being a developer that truly understands the ultra-high-end market, since his success with the highly-acclaimed luxury tower at 1706 Rittenhouse Square.
The developer expects the new tower to be Philadelphia most innovative luxury concept to date.

The amenity-rich building will offer everything from a multi-level glass enclosed two story fitness center with a yoga room, massage room and steam room to a large outdoor terrace overlooking National Historic Park. It will also boast an underground fully automated parking system for over 80 cars that automatically stores and retrieves vehicles in less than 90 seconds.

Perhaps the best amenity at the new building, however, will be the view of Independence Hall. “It’s a real strength for this building,” Scannapieco says, “looking right at history.”

Construction on 500 Walnut will begin this spring, and already has 16 reservations. The building has a target opening date in the spring of 2017.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Accountant Embezzled $1.6 Million from Electrical Supply House

Over a period of seven years, an accountant allegedly embezzled $1.6 million from a branch of Electrical Wholesalers in Connecticut. Gail Zolla turned herself in to police after learning of a warrant for her arrest. Investigators allege that the former employee wrote 470 checks to a fake company and deposited the funds into her personal bank accounts. Ms. Zolla was charged with one count of first-degree larceny and 327 counts of second-degree forgery and is being held on $250,000 bond.

A former accountant for a Connecticut-based electrical supply company was charged Wednesday with embezzling $1.6 million over seven years.

Gale Zolla was charged with first-degree larceny and second-degree forgery. Police said the forgery counts relate to checks she wrote to a fictitious company and deposited into her personal accounts.

Police said that on February 15, Zolla went to police precinct and told officers she had embezzled money from her employer, U.S. Electrical Services Inc., which is the parent company of Electrical Wholesalers.

The case was turned over to detectives and inspectors in the state's attorney's office, who began investigating.

Zolla initially told police she'd stolen $800,000 from the company, but as the company audited its accounts it determined the loss was actually $1.66 million.

The former accountant told police she believed her boss was beginning to suspect she was stealing and that prompted her February visit to Bristol police.

Police said their investigation showed that she wrote herself 470 checks during the time she worked at Electrical Wholesalers, and that she wrote the last check on February 15, the same day she went to police to turn herself in.

Police obtained search warrants for her home and bank accounts and said most of the money appears to be gone. Zolla told police she spent about $100,000 on landscaping at her home and the rest of the money on vacations, vehicles and other household expenses.

She also covered some of the expenses of her wedding with the stolen funds, according to the warrant. Bank records "indicate she spent money on vacations, restaurants, furniture and many shopping sprees."

Police also learned that Zolla used about $12,500 in stolen funds to pay down her credit cards just prior to going to police headquarters to confess. She cashed an allegedly forged check for $5,000 the day she went to police and another for $6,264 just after, according to the warrant.

What prompted Zolla to go to police to confess appears to be the efforts of a co-worker at U.S. Electrical Services, Linda Culop, to reconcile several accounts. One account was short about $750,000 for 2012 and 2013. Culop, a senior accountant, asked Zolla about the discrepancy and Zolla said she'd look into it.

Over the next several weeks, Culop continued to ask Zolla about the discrepancies, but did not get an answer. She then went to the company's chief financial officer, Robert Canyock, and another employee to show them the problem.

Culop told police that on February 14 she sat down with Zolla and another employee to investigate the shortfall, according to the warrant. Zolla said she was stepping away to get more detail, and then left work. Zolla went to police the next day.

As U.S. Electrical Services accountants further examined the records, they determined that the company's loss totaled $1.66 million and all of the checks had been cut by Zolla to the fictitious company.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

29-Story Luxury Apartment Tower to Rise at 1919 Market Street

Another high-rise luxury apartment tower is about to begin Center City, at 1919 Market Street, on the corner of 20th & Market Streets. The new 455,000-square-foot mixed-use building will stand next to the Independence Blue Cross Tower in the middle of Center City’s largest and tallest office corridor. This tower will be 29-stories high and comprised of 321 luxury apartment units, with ground floor retail and a five-story parking garage for 215 vehicles. The project has a target completion date of spring 2016.

The corner of 20th and Market Street will soon be looking at lot different.

Brandywine Realty Trust, which was named Developer of the Year by Development Magazine, is teaming up with Berwyn-based real estate company LCOR to construct a new 29-story mixed-use tower at 1919 Market Street in Center City.

Hunter Roberts Construction will manage the process of building the 455,000-square-foot tower, which was designed by Barton Partners.

There will be twelve units per floor, above the fourth floor, except for the top three floors, which will have larger penthouses on the 26th & 27th floors and an amenities floor on the very top. The apartments will range from studios to two bedrooms, and the corner units will have large balconies.

Here are the details:
- 321 luxury apartments
- 24,000 square feet of office space for Blue Cross
- Five-Story parking garage for 215 cars
- Ground-floor retail space for CVS pharmacy
- Full concierge service
- Fitness center
- Rooftop ledge pool
- Outdoor roof garden with fire pit
- Game room with golf simulator
- Target completion date: spring 2016.
Except for the lobby, the entire first floor will have retail space, and the second floor will have office space. The commercial space will total approximately 25,000 square feet on both floors.  The third and fourth floors will have two-level loft apartments facing Market Street. 

The tower will have dark have multi-colored glass window panels. The glass panels will have a random pattern and come in four colors: blue, green, light gray, and silver.

A parking structure will rise five stories on the north side of the property at Commerce Street, and will accommodate 215 parking spaces.  The parking garage will also have 108 bike storage spaces and retail space on 20th Street.

The developers hope to obtain LEED Silver certification for the tower, with features such as Energy Star appliances, low-flow showers, energy-efficient lighting and mechanical systems, and storm water management.

Construction on the shiny 367 feet tall building is expected to begin immediately.

Monday, November 3, 2014

New! Lighting Control for the Digital Age

Touch the Future of Lighting Control with GRAFIK T™ from Lutron 
Introducing an exciting new lighting control solution for the digital age that marries advanced Lutron touch dimming technology with intuitive, minimalist design. GRAFIK T reinvents the way we interact with lighting controls: one simple touch or slide-of-a-finger on the LED light bar sets the lighting level. GRAFIK T is ideal for residential and commercial dimming applications. From simple standalone control to whole-home or building lighting control systems, GRAFIK T offers a solution for any light source.

Lighting control is effortless – and smart – with GRAFIK T innovative software and electronics. Lutron’s reliable Clear Connect® wireless technology provides the convenience of remote controls, and lets you connect GRAFIK T to Lutron’s wireless occupancy and daylight sensors.

Technological advances in GRAFIK T circuitry now make it possible to use elegant metal faceplates while maintaining wireless capability. In addition, patented C•L® dimming technology ensures GRAFIK T lighting controls are compatible with next-generation, energy-efficient bulbs, easing the transition to new lighting sources for residential and commercial users alike.

GRAFIK T lighting controls will also be available as a member of Lutron’s advanced lighting control system families, HomeWorks® QS and RadioRA® 2. In these systems, customers can control all light sources, including linear, recessed, and pendant LED fixtures.

GRAFIK T is the first architecturally designed dimmer to bring fashionable lighting control to the connected home market. Its aesthetic is elegant and timeless, featuring a faceplate that appears to float off the wall and a slightly raised LED bar that is responsive to the lightest touch and slightest motion. 

It is easy and intuitive to control lighting levels: all that’s required to raise or lower the lights is a soft touch on the LED light bar – no knobs to turn, buttons to press, or sliders to adjust.

Backed by Lutron quality, GRAFIK T is a modern design classic that brings together great looks and smart technology for a seamless user experience.

Contact your local Lutron representative for more information or visit

> Click here to Download Brochure

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Museum of the American Revolution Breaks Ground

Concrete is flowing and things are progressing nicely toward completion of the Museum of the American Revolution in Old City, Philadelphia. Last week, an array of politicians and benefactors gathered beneath a vast party tent beside a very deep hole along South Third Street to celebrate the symbolic groundbreaking and the start of construction on the $119 million project.

The 118,000-square-foot museum, designed by noted architect Robert A.M. Stern, is being built by Intech Construction.

Museum president and chief executive, Michael Quinn, says that construction had been fully funded and the grand opening is set for late 2016 or early 2017.

“We are on schedule with construction,” he said. “The Visitor Center on the site has been completely demolished, and we’re continuing to remove the foundations and are finishing up the archeological work as well.”

Archeology was necessary because the building will be at 3rd and Chestnut, deep in Colonial Philadelphia.

When the deep hole is filled and the $119 million building opens in two years, it will be, officials believe, the nation's first museum to tell the whole story of the American Revolution - from the disgruntled grumbling over British taxes in the 1760s through the desperate days of the Continental Army in the 1770s and on to eventual independence in the 1780s.

To see more on the museum project, check out the museum’s website, webcam, and Tumblr page.