RFQ for 8 Acre Park Connecting City to Penn's Landing

The city of Philadelphia searches for engineers and designers to plan a n eight-acre park that would connect Penn's Landing to Center City by fully covering I-95 and Columbus Boulevard between Walnut and Chestnut streets, continuing on a gradual slope down to the water.  A rendering from the Master Plan for the Central Delaware shows a large lawn spanning from Front Street to the water offering a destination for outdoor films and a place to view fireworks and concerts.

The study will also consider:

  • A large, mixed-use development in what is currently a Market street parking lot.  Additional space would be created by removing the Market Street scissor ramp structure.
  • The extension of the South Street pedestrian bridge to the southwest corner of the great water basin.
  • Mixed-use development, including residences and restaurant barges, in and around the basin.

Responses to the RFQ are due March 4, and the DRWC Board is expected to make a decision in April.  The engineering and design work will be done in two phases, with Phase I comprised mostly of engineering.  It will include structural plans for the I-95 Columbus boulevard cap, a circulation plan for transit, cars, bikes and pedestrians, and a conceptual design for the South Street pedestrian Bridge.  Phase I is to be completed toward the end of this summer, and once the board approves renderings and models for Phase II will be produced, which should be completed by early winter.

Penn Street Trail Construction

According to PlanPhilly, construction will begin next month on the Penn Street portion of the Central Delaware River trail.  The trail will stretch from the end of Spring Garden Street, along Delaware Avenue to Penn Street, through the SugarHouse Casino Parking lot connecting to the finished portion of the trail behind the casino, of which SugarHouse will take the responsibility of building according to the same standards and specs of the rest of the trail.

The trail includes separate paths for walkers and cyclists, separated by pavers, and protected from traffic by rain gardens and trees, grasses and shrubs.  Solar powered lamps will illuminate the pathway.  Also included in the park is a pocket park located in the triangle-shaped lot created where Penn street branches off of Delaware Avenue.

The project will be funded by a combination of grant money totaling $1.55 million from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the William Penn Foundation and city capital dollars.  DRWC is also seeking more grant money for the rain gardens, from the Philadelphia Water Department, freeing up funding for other projects.  Goals are set for a summer completion.


229 Arch Boutique Residences

New boutique loft style apartments are set to open March 1st in Old City at 229 Arch Street, replacing a former rehab facility. The 5 story historic relic of Philadelphia's Industrial past was originally home to the Berger Brothers Company, which sits adjacent to the historic Betsy Ross House.  The building will feature 65 mixed units of studio, 1 & 2 bedroom apartments sporting architectural details of its historic character like exposed brick and high arched ceilings in the top floor units. The apartments rang in size from 700 to 1,300 square feet, starting at $1,300 a month.

229 Arch is marketed as the perfect blend of old world charm and modern conveniences offering a slew of amenities like private lounges for events, two club levels with screening rooms and Billiards, fitness center, private landscaped courtyard with picnic area, large inclosed dog run for you furry friends, bike storage and discounted parking.  The main entrance leads to a dramatic, modern, light-filled two story main hall with a 4-story atrium.  The common room is equipped with a community theater and bar with private residence storage space, Wi-Fi and computers for residents' use.

Check out the site Here
Contact: Shy Peled- Realtor

Equinox Builds 29 Units in Francisville

Developer Jonathan Weiss, of Equinox Management & Construction's plan to build 20 residential units on 18,000 square feet of city-owned vacant land in Francisville was approved last week by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission.  The site is located on the 1700 block of Folsom Street across from the Francisville Recreation Center.  It contains four standing single family homes, which are not part of the deal.

Weiss' plan for the neighborhood includes two multi-family buildings and 21 single-family units, 11 car parking spaces and 30 bike parking spaces, green roofs, solar panels, and energy-efficient materials.  The units will be market- rate and mixed- income, primarily marketed to families earning the area median income of $64k a year.  Weiss hopes to officially acquire the land in April or May and begin construction immediately, with units on the market by Fall.


Home2 Suites

Philadelphia's $60 million Home2 Suites, located at 12th and Arch Streets is moving along well with and opening scheduled for August of this year.  At much a disappointment for advocates for beautiful architecture in Philadelphia, this partially prefabricated building shows a lack of concern for aesthetics from the developers, shouting a far cry from what could have possibly been and beautiful modern W Hotel.

However this being the first new hotel construction in over a decade is in fact a positive thing.  The new hotel will be a focused service property, one in which essential service elements are intact– like housekeeping and front desk staff– but luxury level elements like concierge are eliminated.

The 248 suites will start at 365 square feet each.  In keeping with Hilton's Home2 brand, each room will feature a connectivity panel and a working wall.  The working wall spans the entire length of the room and includes space for a 42" flat screen TV, wardrobe, desk, and kitchenette. The connectivity panel allows guest to sync their Mac devices to their TV to watch anything available on iTunes.  The hotel will feature an open lobby, meeting space, a pool, fitness center, and Wii lounge specifically designed for practicing yoga.

Dilworth Plaza Construction

As many of you are well aware, the former 1970's design of Dilworth Plaza is being reconstructed and transformed into a 21st Century Public Plaza.  Located above the hub of Philadelphia's public transit network and former home to many of the city's homeless and Philadelphia Occupy Wall Street tent city, the new plaza will feature a spacious green lawn and interactive public fountains, cafe and new subway concourse entrance pavilions.  The lawn will serve many public events like summer movies and in winter time the fountain will be transformed into an ice skating rink.

The Center City District's Paul Levy says construction at Dliworth Plaza is progressing as it should.  There are 50 to 70 construction workers on-site every day.  The Plaza is expected to be completed by summer of 2014.

Tower Place Opens

Tower Place opened its doors two weeks ago with a ribbon cutting ceremony that included the legendary Bart Blatstein himself, Alan Greenberger and many other city officials.  The former mid-century state office building is officially a converted residential tower.  This marks another step forward in the transition of North Broad Street into a livable, culturally and economically diverse district.

The $70 million conversion now offers 17 floors containing 204 one and two bedroom units.  Offering a 6-12 month lease and roughly $2 per square foot, the building offers a free bike share program, 24-hour concierge, continental breakfast, Wi-Fi hot spots, 24 hour maintenance, fitness center, game room and many more amenities.  

In five years, Tower Investments plans to join the apartment building with a newly constructed 20-story mixed use building with 2 levels of retail, 18 stories of apartments with 215 rentable units all costing $110 million.


Norris Point

The Norris Point development at the corner of Trenton Ave. and E. Norris St. in Kensington has progressed very well over the past six months.  The first four homes are complete with four new neighbors currently under construction, completing the project.  the homes will be complete with roof decks with amazing north east skyline views, a full basement, rear patios, and benefits of a ten year tax abatement.


Queens High Line Proposal Gets Jump Start

Cities across the country have been re-evaluating their unused rail right-of-ways since the continued success of Manhattan's west side High Line Park.  The borough of Queens now has big plans to transform its own abandoned infrastructure into its own version of the High Line called the Queensway Cultural Gateway.

The rest of the story Here


Market East Strategic Plan PDF

Check out the Official Market East Strategic Plan at Phila.gov done by the Philadelphia Planning Commission and EE&K Architects

Click Here!

UC Science Center Plans for New Apartment Tower

For the first time in 50 years, the University Science Center will construct its first housing project this fall at 3601 Market Street.  The 27-story apartment building is a joint venture with Wexford Equities and Southern Land Co.

The institution believes it is their duty as community developers to broaden the spectrum and encourage a lifestyle for vibrancy beyond 9 to 5.  Establishing a 24/7 mixed used project would perhaps encourage the private sector to see future investment potential in the community and hopefully follow suit.

The center plans for 364 "market rate" apartments- studio, 1, 2, 3 bedrooms, plus 17,000 sq ft of ground-floor retail, 200 parking spaces, a fitness center, rooftop pool, and residential lounge.  The units will hopefully broaden the appeal of the UC and Philadelphia innovation cluster enticing start-up companies to stay in the city instead of moving to the suburbs.

Groundbreaking is anticipated for Fall 2013 with an expected completion date in Spring 2015.  The project is designed by BLTa architects with the goal of achieving LEED Silver certification.  The building will be topped off with a green roof.

Source: Philly.com