One of our first predictions for 2017 was that North Broad Street would take a major step forward this year, and it didn't even take two weeks for news to emerge that supports this expectation. Hey, when you're good, you're good.
We had jury duty last week. We got called in the first group, spent a couple of hours waiting for selection, and then the case was settled and we got to go to lunch. Since we were in Center City, we opted for some tasty Double Knot, and during the walk over we passed the East Market project on the 1100 block of Market Street. When we last visited this project a year ago, it was a large hole in the ground. Times have changed.
There's a small commercial building at 15th & Hamilton, on the eastern edge of the campus for the Community College of Philadelphia, which will soon be on the outs. Had things broken differently, this site could have been the backyard of Philadelphia's second casino, but instead it will be home to roughly five-hundred new units of student housing. Considering the current situation, just about any change would represent an upgrade. Well, aside from a casino.
Current view from 15th Street
Current view from 16th Street
Last week, Philly.com reported that CCP will be teaming up with Radnor Property Group to construct two new 11-story buildings on this site with an eye toward attracting international students (who somehow pay three times as much as American students). These buildings, designed by BLT Architects, will include parking and a retail component as well. We're perhaps most pleased about the mid-rise scale of the buildings, it seems we don't see too much new construction of this size in Philadelphia.
Boy, it sure is a bummer that the zombified remains of the Snellenburg's department store on Market Street got demolished.
If we may be serious for a moment, it's actually really wonderful that this horrible building, mutilated beyond recognition from its original splendor, is no longer with us. When we last checked in on the building formerly known as Girard Square at the end of last year, demolition efforts had just begun. Now the building is entirely gone. In its place is a giant hole in the ground.
We last visited the Nebinger School at 6th & Carpenter two summers back, when construction was taking place to dramatically improve the school's stormwater management. That project included a rain garden and the addition of an underground water basin, and was completed for the 2013-14 school year. Currently, those improvements are mostly covered in snow, as will happen this time of year.
View of the school from 6th Street
Of course, a schoolyard can always be improved further. Now, the Friends of Nebinger and the school are collaborating on a new gateway into the schoolyard on 6th Street. In December, a meeting with designers from BLT Architects resulted in a scheme for an "open pavilion" that includes a green-covered trellis and ceramic tile details that echo the school's main entrance on Carpenter Street. A reader was kind enough to share the drawings, which still have a very rough look to them. As the process progresses, we'd wager someone will punch this stuff into CAD.
Remember in 2011, when we told you about plans for the redevelopment of Girard Square, and that the developers were targeting Target as their lead tenant? Remember how excited we were by this possibility? Remember how nothing has happened with this project since?
Proposed in 2011
Today, we learned about East Market, a new proposal from National Real Estate Advisors for the entire block encompassed by Market, Chestnut, 11th, and 12th Streets. It's considerably more ambitious than the previous project that brought so much excitement, so it stands to reason that everyone should be pretty much flipping out about it. Check out this rendering, from BLT Architects, of basically the same perspective as the image above:
Readers often ask us where we get all our scoops for Naked Philly. There's no single answer- we closely follow the zoning calendar, we attend various neighborhood meetings, we're on dozens of listservs, we drive around town and look for construction, we have sources in the real estate industry, we get info from other publications, and neighbors send us tips. But sometimes, a scoop is as easy as a press release showing up in our inbox. And that's how we're able to tell you today that the third and final Cira Centre tower will be breaking ground next year.
Just a few days ago, we checked in on the Chestnut Street side of Cira Centre South, and told you that the building is about a third of the way up. At that time, we showed you a rendering of the future Chestnut Street building accompanied by a ghostly image of the Walnut Street building. Well, dream no more folks, the ghost building will soon be a real live building!