New Tower Development at 933 N. Penn St,

Developers plan to construct a twenty-story 215 foot tall residential building with parking on the first five floors, with 200 apartment units above at 933 N. Penn St. adjacent to Sugarhouse Casino and Waterfront Square.  There will also be 1500 SF of lower level retail.  The developer plans to use 17,000 SF of the lot and offer to donate the exiting pier 40 that is part of the site to the city.  The city however does not feel the pier will benefit the because it is not at the terminus of a major river- city connector street.  The pier would also cost $7 million to reconstruct and $3 million to demolish and leave the piles for marine life habitation.

The Delaware River Master Plan requires a maximum height limit of 100 feet for new construction.  This proposal more than doubles that amount.  The waterfront can currently absorb only about 100 new residences per year.  Keeping building heights below 100 feet spreads development out over the entire waterfront, says DRWC representative.

Wistar Institute Expansion; University of Pennsylvania

The Wistar institute, located in the heart of the University of Pennsylvania campus has begun construction on its planned expansion of the institute.  The new facility will be replacing an older building in the middle of their Spruce Street complex. Construction should take about 2 years to complete.

The new 100,000 SF research addition designed by Ballinger Architects,  is part of a larger planning project done in collaboration with Ballinger.  Ballinger provided existing facility assessment, programming, master planning, and conceptual design studies in support of strategic plan objectives: to develop a space program to support significant growth in principal investigator head-count and research space; to transform the research environment into one of a world- class research institution that enhances collaboration, interaction, and innovation; to provide a modern infrastructure  that is flexible, efficient and easily maintained; to convey the institute's image and culture in the design of any new
structure while respecting the tradition and context of its urban campus.


Residences at the Lorraine

Owners Lorraine Land LLP contracted Cope Linder Architects to design a proposal for a residential mixed use development for the Divine Lorraine and surrounding properties.  The project has not yet received approval and there is no date set for construction.  I will say that this project would be a sure positive boost for the surrounding communities.

The program calls for 150 condos and restaurant in the restored Divine Hotel.  Mixed-use development of 450 one-bedroom and efficiency units, supermarket, health club, cafe, and 620 space parking garage all adjacent to a new pedestrian plaza.

Modeled after successful European urban redevelopment projects, the plans for the Residences  at the Lorraine bring an elegant solution to an area primed for growth and enrichment.  The rehabilitation of the Divine Lorraine Hotel is supported by a modern mixed-use development of housing, retail, parking and beautiful public spaces, including a lush roof garden.  Using multi-colored glass, metal and precast concrete, this urban infill project will bring life to a currently underutilized space.


Parks & Rec will Unveil 4 New Parks by July 4th

In time for the Major July 4th festivities, Philly's Park & Recreation Department will have completed and unveiled four new parks to the city's public.  All four parks projects were begun with their own agendas and goals but they all share Philadelphia's Green 2015 initiatives in common.

Sister Cities Park

The first to open is a redesign of Logan Square's Sister Cities Park.   It is the final installment in a $20 million investment in streetscape improvements along Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  Lander's Point park and Grays Ferry Crescent have transformed spaces on the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers respectively.  Landers Point is the first new park on the North Delaware.  costing $1.5 million, the 4.5-acre park is an estuary restoration project developed with money awarded to the state after an oil tanker spill in 2002. The park features wetlands and an already heavily used fishing pier.

The 11 acre, $2.8 million Grays Ferry Crescent hugs both sides of a curving stretch of river near 34th and Wharton streets.  The parks feature beautiful sweeping paths  and lush meadows of wildflowers.  Eventually this park will serve as a link between the river bank trail that extends from center City, about 1.5 miles northeast, and Bartram's Garden, two miles southwest.

Grays Ferry

Lastly, Hawthorne Park which will open July 5, is a basic neighborhood park in an emerging greater Center City neighborhood.  The passive $1.6 million park design a wide swath of lawn and a central paved plaza that can double as a stage.  Oriented toward the town homes that face it, the park is situated to make the best of the skyline views just beyond them.

Hawthorne Park


Toll Brother Develops New Market Development

Toll Brothers hopes to replace the large hole at 410 S. Front Street in Society hill with a 69-untit, 68 foot-tall gated condominium with 108 underground parking spaces.  Many projects have been previously proposed over the past several decades for this location but none have succeeded, including the controversial Stamper square hotel/condo development.

The building will be made of brick, stone, concrete, glass and metal.  The colors, and most of the materials, are similar to those used in historic Society Hill.  The design however is a modern take on brick construction.

Civic support is now needed to help convince the Zoning Board of Adjustment to grant variances for height and the number of stories.  While Stamper Square had received a change in zoning classification to C4 commercial, the change has expired. Toll a publicly traded company, did not need financing to purchase the property, which it bought last year.  The developer hope to start construction in 2013 and finish about 18 months later.


Korman Residential builds 722 rental apartments

According to PlanPhilly, Korman Residential plans to build 722 rental apartments in a two-story complex on now vacant land in Eastwick, near the airport and John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.

The area has been under Philadelphia Redevelopment Autority control and slated for residential development for decades under the Eastwick Urban Renewal Plan.  Korman has had the option to develop it for many years.  But the renewal plan calls for single family housing, not multi-family, so Korman needs a zoning change to build as planned.

Korman is also asking the city to strike streets, pedestrian walkways and utility rights-of-way within a 35-acre parcel bounded by Lindbergh Boulevard, Dicks Place, 86th Street and Sheckctor Place.  Last week, Korman received planning commission approval for those zoning and streets bills, bringing it a step closer to building the apartments, which project attorney Peter Kelsen described as "workforce housing, for people who move to the city to work at the airport, stadiums" or other nearby places, with rents between $1,100 and $1,450 per month.  It would be built in four phases, with completion planned for 2018.

Kelsen said building the one- and -two-bedroom apartments will cost about $102 million and create 590 jobs during construction.  After the 10-year tax abatement expires, it would generate $2.62 million in annual taz revenue for the city, and when the first phase is completed in 2013, Eastwick will have about 1,000 new residents.