Wednesday, October 19, 2016

$575M Makeover Planned for Philadelphia’s Gallery Mall

The venerable Gallery at Market East will soon undergo a complete and rebranding thanks to an agreement between Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, the Macerich Company and the City of Philadelphia. A two-year construction process will begin to redesign the Gallery and turn the historic mall into a contemporary retail space housing 125 stores, and renamed the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia at Market East.

The redevelopment plan, which will cost $575 million, includes a total redesign to remake the 1.5 million-square-foot space into a highly accessible, airy and light-filled shopping and entertainment center with discount outlets of high-end retailers, street-level shops, sidewalk cafes and more.

Plans include 125 new stores, along with revamped dining and entertainment options. The transformation will involve a new glass-walled Center Court at 9th and Market Street.

Once complete, the overhauled multi-use space would connect the shopping and entertainment assets inside the center with the vibrant city outside, allowing for tons of natural light and a dynamic flow of pedestrians and shoppers.

Legislation passed by the City Council includes:
  • $55 million tax break for the developers from the city and the state.
  • At least a $12/hr minimum wage for employees of the developers and their subcontractors, but not including retail workers
  • City residents would get the first opportunities for employment at the mall
  • The right for kiosk vendors displaced by construction to relocate within the completed mall

Inside, a glass-walled and light-filled Center Court at 9th and Market would become a hub for shoppers, visitors, office workers, conventioneers and residents.

Outside, the 9th Street underpass would become a key access point for the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia at Market East.

The dramatic renovation plans for the interior concourse include adding tons of windows to allow for natural light and bright light-reflecting white tiles, transforming the outdated mall into a contemporary entertainment destination.

Construction would close the existing Gallery for approximately two years, with a scheduled reopening in 2018.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Three Construction Projects Will Transform Temple University

Temple University is investing $300 million in new and upgraded facilities as part of a campus renaissance. Temple’s residential campus continues to evolve, with major construction projects bringing a new state-of-the-art library, a 35,000-seat football stadium, a health and wellness center and on-campus retail space. 

A new state-of-the art library 

The former site of Barton Hall will soon be home to Temple University’s new library, designed by Snøhetta, an architectural firm known for its innovative library designs, in partnership with Philadelphia-based design firm Stantec.

Demolition of the old Barton Hall was completed in March.

Plans include a library with more than 225,000-square-foot occupying a space approximately the size of a city block.

It will be bounded by Polett Walk to the south, Liacouras Walk to the west, Norris Street to the north and the Quad to the east.

A state-of-the art automated storage and retrieval system will allow the library to devote more square footage to learning spaces and less space to book stacks.
The new building will have dramatic arched entrances and a green roof, as well as a large, upper-level outdoor balcony space that will offer views of campus.

New Football Stadium

Temple University plans to construct a new 35,000-seat football stadium, with an estimated cost of $126 million, on the northwest corner of its main campus.

The multi-purpose stadium and retail complex will be bounded by Broad Street, Norris Street, 16th Street and Montgomery Avenue.

Temple has hired AECOM and architects Moody Nolan to design the project.

AECOM designed Florida Atlantic University's football stadium in 2012. At 29,419 seats, it's slightly smaller than Temple's stadium.

There are many reasons why the university is considering an on-campus stadium, including the long-term benefit of owning a stadium instead of renting one.

Owning a stadium is anticipated to result in net savings of approximately $3 million annually. That’s money that can be used for other priorities. The Philadelphia Eagles have been criticized for charging Temple $1 million a year to lease their stadium.

“Having our own stadium will help showcase our vibrant campus as we celebrate Temple’s accomplishments on and off the field," says Temple President Neil D. Theobald.

Temple Stadium will have a capacity of about 35,000—about half the size of Lincoln Financial Field, where the university now plays its home games.

The project promises to help revitalize North Broad Street and contribute to the North Philadelphia economy.

Construction will also include an adjacent practice facility and a student recreation building. Temple plans to begin construction of the facility in 2017.

Student Health and Wellness Center

Temple University will break ground this month on a new Student Health and Wellness Center—an academic, athletics and recreation facility that will provide space for students in the College of Public Health to hone their clinical skills along with space for recreational sports and weight training.

The centerpiece of the 95,000 square foot facility is the main entrance, angled toward the intersection of 15th Street and Montgomery Avenue.

A two-and-a-half-story glass atrium will greet pedestrians, who will enter the facility beneath a portion of an outdoor track that serves as a balcony above the main doors before returning to ground level around the perimeter of the building.

The multipurpose facility's academic area will have smart classrooms, laboratory spaces with the latest technology and lecture halls, as well as a unique apartment space where demonstrations can take place.

The new center will also have an indoor recreation area that includes a 70-yard synthetic turf field, a climbing wall and a juice bar.

The field is for use by the school's athletic teams, as well as participants in Temple's 36 club sports and 10 intramural sports. The recreation area will also offer twice the amount of free-weight space currently available to students. Outside, a track will be available to the public.

The targeted completion date is fall 2017. The architecture firm Moody Nolan designed the facility.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Construction of Ridge Flats Development to Begin this Winter

Ridge Flats is a new mixed use development planned for 4300-4326 Ridge Avenue, at the Falls Bridge between Calumet Street and Kelly Drive.

The six-story building will be built on a 1.7-acre plot and offer 206 apartments and a parking garage with 194 parking spaces and bike parking spots.

It's a big project for East Falls, a hilly neighborhood known for its cozy row homes near Fairmount Park.

Included in the project is 20,188 square feet of round floor retail space, a corner café and a living green wall along the Kelly Drive side, which will incorporate a living art installation as part of the Percent for Art Program.

Building amenities will comprise of hotel-level furnishings included in 20 percent of the apartments, as well as a terraced rooftop on the second floor, complete with pool.

The 236,084-square-foot mixed-use complex was widely praised at a monthly Civic Design Review in Philadelphia.

The project will transform this section of the Schuylkill River banks, which currently features mostly parking lots and warehouses that have sat unused for years.

The developers, Onion Flats and Grasso Holdings, plan to begin construction this year

Designed by New York-based Morris Adjmi Architects, the project will seek Energy Star certification for low energy usage and sustainability, with rain gardens and solar panels.

Ridge Flats has been in the works since 2011 when the proposal, then originally just by local architects Onion Flats, was given the go ahead by authorities.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Massive $6.5B Redevelopment Planned for University City

University City is in for some major changes thanks to a new redevelopment plan from Amtrak and partners SEPTA, Brandywine Realty Trust, and Drexel University. The plan will be the single largest development project in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and turn West Philadelphia into a regional economic hub. 

The development is expected to cost $6.5 billion, with $2 billion going to infrastructure investments and the other $4.5 billion coming from developers.

The project is expected to create 22,000 construction jobs and another 10,000 permanent jobs, and add 8,000 to 10,000 residents to the city’s population.

The massive venture will focus on the area around 30th Street Station, the second-busiest station in the Amtrak system, ultimately turning the area into a second downtown for Philadelphia.

Plans for the station and surrounding neighborhood will start with the capping of the existing Amtrak and SEPTA-owned rail yards to accommodate 10 million square feet of development along the Schuylkill River.

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New office, retail and residential buildings containing 18 million square feet of total space and 40 acres of open space would be created, with most of the development privately financed.

The project will include housing for 10,000 residents and create 1.2 million square feet of commercial space.

Three pedestrian bridges across the Schuylkill River, linking University City with Logan Square and Center City, are also planned.

The redevelopment site consists of a total of 175 acres in the University City neighborhood, 88 of which is occupied by the Amtrak rail yard.

This project is the culmination of a two-year study of the site, which extends east of Drexel’s campus between Walnut and Spring Garden Streets and northeast from 30th Street Station.

Among the infrastructure improvements are plans to relocate a ramp for the Schuylkill Expressway in favor of a new bus terminal.

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In addition to the bus facility, Amtrak also plans to expand The Porch at 30th Street Station.

A new gateway park will surround the facility with a tree-lined promenade along the river, a west-side plaza that could be used for large-scale events and a north plaza along Arch Street.

The 30th Street Station itself will also receive a major renovation that will add retail space and a new pedestrian plaza around the train station.

A new underground concourse that will connect the SEPTA subway station at 30th Street to the Amtrak station, is also planned.