For a vacant lot in the middle of our central business district, 1919 Market St. has a fascinating history over the past few decades. The last building on this lot, the Penn Center Inn, was torn down over twenty years ago in anticipation of a twin to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Building. According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, a second development plan was held up for over a decade by numerous lawsuits after the original developer went bust. Finally, after years of litigation, Opus East purchased the lot in 2005 and planned a 38-story mixed use building and then a 14-story residential building before going bankrupt in 2009. At the beginning of this year, Brandywine Realty Trust purchased the lucky lot for $9.3M.
Currently, the lot is again vacant.
According to another article in the Philadelphia Business Journal, we could see progress on this site sooner rather than later. By the end of January, Brandywine will close on $1.2B in unsecured financing, which should give them the kind of cashflow needed to get a couple of large projects in the ground. We wouldn’t be surprised if this is one of those projects.
What this project will ultimately look like is anybody’s guess. With close to a thousand new rental apartments units coming online in the area in the coming years, Brandywine could certainly add to that mix. What about condos? Will the condo market be able to absorb a new condo high rise in the next few years, or will the well-documented struggles of the Murano just down the street discourage that sort of project? Or could we <gasp> see new office space get built on this site? Only time will tell.
The best news for the moment: it appears that we’re finally going to get a building on this curiously vacant lot. After all these years.