Friday, December 26, 2014


PA’s Highest Residential Tower to Rise on South Broad St
A sleek 47-story hotel/condo tower planned for the corner of South Broad & Spruce streets has been approved by the Civic Design Review Committee. The SLS International Hotel and Residences will soar 590 feet and will house 125 luxury condo units, 150 hotel rooms, an Olympic sized swimming pool, a restaurant and retail space. The $200 million building will be Pennsylvania’s tallest residential structure, and its units will be among its most expensive. Construction is expected to take about two years to complete.

Dranoff Properties is clear to begin construction of SLS International Hotel and Residences - a 47-story, 590-foot tower with 125 condos and 150 hotel rooms at Broad and Spruce streets, across the street from the Kimmel Center.

There are currently two buildings on the site. These will be torn down, but first asbestos must be removed.

Remediation will begin in late fall or early winter, with demolition to follow and construction to begin as soon as the site is clear.

The new building will be designed by Kohn Pederson Fox, architects of the world's highest hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong.

Project details:
  • 47 stories and 590 feet tall
  • Approximately 423,000 square feet
  • 162 five-star hotel rooms
  • 125 luxury condos, ranging from one-bedroom units to penthouses
  • The hotel and condos units will have separate lobbies
  • Ground-floor retail stores
  • 6,000-square-foot, double-height glass ballroom on the fifth-floor
  • Olympic sized swimming pool, fitness center and spa
  • A ground-floor corner bar and restaurant
  • Target groundbreaking: next fall
  • Construction time: two years
  • Cost: more than $200 million
  • Total parking spots: 233
  • One level of underground parking; three levels above-grade
  • The garage will be limited to residents and hotel-uses, and all parking will be by valet.

The compelling 47-story tower is intended to act as a catalyst for the future of development to the south of Center City, said architect Gene Kohn.

Developer, Carl Dranoff, says the building will be the Pennsylvania’s “tallest structure built for residential use.“

The 590-foot tower will be taller than the William Penn statue on top of City Hall, and its units will be among the City’s most expensive.

Construction will require the demolition 301-309 South Broad Street, the longtime home of Philadelphia International Records. The building suffered significant fire damage in 2010.

The name, SLS International, is a nod to Philadelphia International – which was famous for the “Philadelphia Sound,” showcased in the recordings of artists such as The Three Degrees, Teddy Pendergass, and The O’Jays.

311 South Broad will also be demolished, and the University of the Arts lot at 313 South Broad Street will be taken and used as a loading dock.

The SLS International Hotel and Residences will be one of Philly's most upscale properties once complete. Not only will it be the tallest building on Broad Street, it will also house an Olympic sized swimming pool, a spa and boast the highest penthouses in the city.

The project calls for condos from floors 20 to 47, hotel rooms on lower floors, and amenities including restaurants, a gym, swimming pool and a spa near street level.

The new building will feature stone at the base, but will be primarily made of metal and glass. The glass will have a high-performance coating, and the metal will be covered with a bright metallic paint.

Friday, December 19, 2014


Massive $660M Delaware Riverfront Apartment Complex
A massive 2.5 million square foot development project will be built on a vacant, 5.3-acre site along the Delaware River waterfront. The Philadelphia City Planning Commission approved Waterfront Renaissance Associates’ $660 million plan to build Renaissance Plaza at the corner of Callowhill Street and Columbus Boulevard. Construction of four mixed-use towers will kick off by the summer of 2015 and will be divided into four phases, with one tower completed in each development stage.  

Combined, the four glass and metal high-rises will comprise 1,411 market-rate apartments and 70,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

The complex will also include two sport centers, several bars and restaurants and an enclosed parking garage with 500 spaces.

Renaissance Plaza is being developed by Waterfront Renaissance Associates, along with its affiliate Carl Marks & Co., the New York investment firm that pieced together four tracts that make up the plot about three decades ago.

The $660 million development will consist of four buildings that range in height from 21 to 31 stories. The tallest tower will reach 240 feet into the sky, a significant change from the original proposed height of 480 feet. The project will also include a green roof, and will seek LEED Gold Status

Building the first phase would take about 16 months, with each phase of development comprising about 360 apartments. Plans also include 16 townhouses, nearly 70,000 square feet of retail space, and 653 parking spaces along with more than an acre of landscaped public plazas.

A swath of landscaped public space would run through the property, which the developer believes will draw people from the neighborhoods through the property, and down to the river.  Some roofs would offer additional green space.

Since the complex will be built on the west side of Delaware Avenue, not the river side, the developer will pay for a crossing signal to get people to the river itself, and will make improvements between the project and the Spring Garden transit stop.

Soil conditions at the site require piles to support the buildings - 700 are required. They will be drilled, not driven, because of sewer infrastructure.

The project is within the area covered by the newly adopted Central Delaware Overlay, which sets a height limit of 100 feet, but allows developers to earn height bonuses up by providing public amenities.

A developer who maxed out the public amenities – which include building a section of waterfront trail, building to LEED environmental standards, making transit improvement and providing public green space – can build up to 244 feet.

The site along the Delaware River waterfront had many bold ambitions that never came to fruition.

The site had been known for the last 15 years as the future address of the Greater Philadelphia World Trade Center.

That development would have entailed more than 3 million square feet of space consisting of a residential tower and three office buildings, parking for more than 2,000 vehicles and 118,000 square feet of retail space. That never happened.

Last fall, Waterfront Renaissance Associates, made a leap across the river and decided it would move the Greater Philadelphia World Trade Center project to Camden, New Jersey, where the developer has proposed building a 2.3-million-square-foot campus on 16 acres at the former Riverfront State Prison.

Friday, December 12, 2014


401 N. Broad Moving Forward with $70 Million Renovation   
The new owner of 401 North Broad Street in Center City is moving forward with a $70 million renovation to the telecom building. Amerimar Enterprises and its partners bought the property in March and are hopeful the multi-phased, multifaceted improvements planned for the building will help entice new tenants to fill up its empty space. 

The building is considered one of the most important mission critical data centers along the East Coast. The renovations aim to position the building to truly realize its full potential.

The first phase of work will entail overhauling many of the building’s mechanical systems and its security and creating new shaftways from decommissioned elevators.

The shaftways will be used to house cabling. Work will also be done to the facade.

In addition, a 20,000-square-foot “meet-me” room will be constructed. This is space within a telecom hotel where different networks can connect with each other. It will be carrier neutral and owned by partners.

Work will also entail preparing the vacant space with the necessary equipment and other gear that telecom tenants need. The types of tenants that might be interested this data center space is vast.

About 300,000 square feet of the 11-story, 1.3-million-square-foot building is empty. The vacancy came about when some of its non-data related tenants vacated.

Tenants can come from a range of industries including financial, cloud and information technology services, manufacturing, health care, universities and other institutions.

Aside from housing Internet data and data communications, data centers are used for disaster recovery purposes, processing transactions and even housing corporate IT operations.

Friday, December 5, 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.