We admit it, sometimes we're a little too optimistic about construction timelines. It's not often though, that we're as off base as we were about the hotel project at 101 N. Broad St., the former Liberty Title & Trust Building. Over four years ago, we were covering the groundbreaking for a new parking garage on the 1300 block of Arch Street and mentioned the Liberty Title building at the end of the post, almost as an afterthought.
At the time, we said "this means that Realen's planned hotel in the old Liberty Title Building at the corner of Broad & Arch is full speed ahead. Considering the time, money, and energy that's gone into the Convention Center expansion, we're looking forward to the completion of these two projects, at which time the 1300 block of Arch Street will be free of construction activity for the first time in almost a decade." Hilariously, the scaffolding that was about a year old at that point remained in place until only recently.
Over the holiday weekend, a reader was kind enough to send us an image of the building sans scaffolding- there's now a fence around the first floor. This is very good news.
According to the project website from Realen, the developers for this project, we can expect a 178 room Aloft Hotel by Starwood. Permits suggest 181 rooms, but who's counting. The permits also indicate plans for three commercial spaces on the first floor (we doubt that Dunkin Donuts will return) and a restaurant on the second floor. The developers also have a couple of project renderings which basically show the existing building preserved and repurposed for a new use.
We've been waiting for this project for quite some time and it's really exciting to see that it's finally moving forward. Once complete, it will provide convention attendees with a new lodging option that, at least architecturally, will put the still-newish Home2 Suites at 12th & Arch to shame. Considering all the buildings that were lost when the Convention Center expanded, it will be extremely satisfying to see one of the spared buildings come back to life in a brand new incarnation. And the fact that we've had to wait so long will make it even sweeter.