Over a year ago, we wrote a post titled 1919 Market Should be Moving Forward Soon. Soon being a relative term, this technically wasn't an incorrect assertion even though the site has sat dormant since we wrote the post. That is, it was dormant until very recently when earth finally started moving around. We zipped over there to see the (extremely limited) progress in person.
Project finally underway
In case you don't remember, the plans are for a twenty-eight story building with 278 apartments, 223 parking spaces, 108 bike parking spaces, retail on the first floor, and offices on the second floor. Brandywine Realty Trust is the developer behind the project, having purchased the lot back in 2011 for $9.3M. Amazingly, this parcel has sat vacant for decades, ever since the Penn Center Inn was demolished in anticipation of twin to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Building that never got built. A number of other plans have come along and not happened over the years, but it looks like Brandywine is finally winning the race against nobody to develop this property.
When it's finished, the new tallest building in Philadelphia will be something like the second child outdoing the first. In 2007, when the 57-story 957-foot Comcast Center was completed, it was like the communications giant announcing its arrival as a dominating media lord. A huge building befit a huge company, so to speak. But in the last month or so, work has begun on the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, a $1.2B 59-story 1,121 ft (interesting number, eh?) at 18th & Arch. The building will neighbor the Comcast Center and reach out with a needle-like top that is similar to the Freedom Tower, the new World Trade Center in New York, as if poking the heavens and asking to bring good fortune to Philadelphia.
Back in December, when we last visited 22nd & Pennsylvania, the Best Western Hotel had closed its doors, suggesting redevelopment of the parcel could be on the way. This property, in case you've forgotten, is slated to become Rodin Square, an exciting mixed-use development that will be quite an upgrade over the unattractive hotel we have today. We first gave you the lowdown about it last summer. First time you're hearing about this project? Here's a refresher.
The project is designed by MV+A Architects and will include a huge new Whole Foods, relocated from a couple blocks away. The grocery store will front Pennsylvania Avenue, and will dwarf the current store, which is often bursting at the seams with customers. It will also overcome a common complaint at the Callowhill Whole Foods, offering 172 dedicated parking spots. But we have a feeling the parking demand will eventually expand to fill the space its given. Such is life.
On the 2100 block of Race Street, just south of the former home of the Please Touch Museum, an eight home project has been in the works for a couple of years. When we last checked in here in May of 2013, a former School District building had just been demolished in favor of an approved row of new homes with rear access parking. The homes have been under construction ever since, though the process has been measured. Currently, four of the eight have gone up.
Looking east on Race St.
Still vacant corner
As you can see, there's still plenty of work to be done on the four homes that have already been built. And at the corner of 21st & Race, land waits for the second phase of the luxury home project. We'll check back in some months from now, and things should progress some more in the interim.
Two summers ago we were worried about how the Made in America Festival had impacted the local grounds, specifically at Von Colln Memorial Field at 22nd & the Parkway. The ball fields at the park that usually serve as home field for youths instead served as space for trucks and stages and heavy equipment. After the concert, the fields looked like they'd squared off against a stampeding herd and lost. Fortunately, the fields were cleaned up and repaired in relatively short order, thanks to a combination of government and concert funds.