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.
For those that don't recall, this was the location of the Snellenburg's department store once upon a time. In the 1960s, the upper floors of the handsome building were demolished, leaving the horrendous two-story modernist Girard Square building, which was home for years to a collection of lousy stores. Now, National Real Estate Advisors, based out of DC, are in the thick of their East Market project on this block. The first phase involves the construction of a residential tower at 11th & Market with 322 units above retail, and the renovation of the former Family Court building on 11th Street into office space. You can see the rear of that building in the second photo above and per Philly.com, it's now about 50% leased.
We've mentioned previously that this project will involve additional phases and now it seems that the second phase will happen long before the first is finished. Next month, the developers will present plans for a second residential tower at 12th & Market at Civic Design Review. Like the building at 11th Street, this tower will sit on a retail platform, but it will be taller, rising 21 stories. A skinnier structure, it will have fewer units than its neighbor, with 240 apartments planned.
The initial site plan for this project called for the path in the middle of the 1100 block of Market Street to stretch to the south, splitting two more anticipated buildings on Chestnut Street. Given the speed at which the buildings are proceeding on the northern end of the site, it wouldn't come as a surprise to learn about additional phases happening in the near future. And given the general crappiness of the north side of the 1100 block of Chestnut Street, especially when considered in contrast to the improvements we've seen on the south side of the block, we seriously can't wait.