Renaissance Plaza

The new plan for Renaissance plaza on Delaware Avenue involves a residential and retail complex developed by Carl Marks Real Estate.  The project will take the place of the former World Trade Center site proposed years ago.  The new proposal calls for shorter towers, more retail, and more green public space.  The complex is half the height of the 430 foot-tall proposal presented last summer. Architect Bill Alesker of Alesker & Dundon said the height changes and dramatically altered plan was due in part to feedback from civic organizations and the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. In my personal opinion, the design could be more innovative and blend more seamlessly with the surrounding neighborhoods.  The architects are extremely bland and lazy when it comes to design, evident of all their previous work.  Short buildings can still be beautiful..... Always a let down Philadelphia.

Old proposal

Continuing on....... under this years proposal, the tallest of five towers is 240 feet.  The 1,411 units are mostly two bedrooms with two equal-sized master suites and one-bedroom units.  Rents are estimated to be about $1,800 to $3,300 per month.

The project would seek LEED Gold status, and would be built in five phases.  The developer is committed to building the first two buildings along with parking and public green space, and the other phases would follow, depending on demand.  Construction should start in Spring 2014, with a following 16 month timeline for the first phase.

Designers added a swath of landscaped public space to run through the property with hopes that it will draw people from the neighborhoods through the property, and down to the river.  Some roofs would offer additional green space.  The developers also hope that the early phases of the development will not only create demand for later phases, but would also spur other development along the Central Delaware.


Ridge Flats Receives Design Approval

Ridge Flats received an endorsement last Tuesday July 2, by the Civic Design Review Committee, which is charged with evaluating the public realm impacts of large development projects.  The  five-story, 146 unit, mixed use apartment complex, proposed for the former Rivage site at 4300-4326 Ridge Avenue, will be built to "passive house" standards: a hyper-efficient building standard intended to produce a "net zero" energy impact.

According to PlanPhilly, Tim McDonald of Onion Flats told the CDR Committee that the project will include 9,300 square feet of retail space, most of which is intended to be frequented by pedestrians in the neighborhood, not destination outlets that people would want to drive to.  A "cafe and lookout" are planned for the corner of Kelly Drive and Calumet Street.  The building will also have green roofs and a rain garden.

Chinatown's Eastern Tower Project Moves Forward

The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation disclosed at a meeting Tuesday Night to Chinatown residents that it will pull building permits and begin construction on the Eastern Tower in the next six to nine months.  Easter Tower will be a 23-story mixed-use apartment complex and community center at 10th and Vine streets.

The building, designed by KlingStubbins and Lisa Armstrong of A K Architecture,  will contain 143 residential units, 31 of which will be affordable for "moderate income" households earning up to 80 percent of the Area Median Income. The market-rate apartments will rent for around $1,700 for a one-bedroom and $2,500 for a two-bedroom. The developers are still rounding up funding for the project, estimated to cost $71 million.

The project will include 10,000 square feet of retail space, plus banquet and recreational space to be available to the community.  the cost to operate the community center is estimated at $255,000 yearly, and John Chin, PCDC Director, promised that recreational space and community services will always be available to community members.