It was less than a month ago when we returned to 160-64 N. 2nd St. in Old City, when new plans were revealed for the corner of 2nd & Race, which has had plenty of proposals over the years. When we last checked in, plans were still being finalized after a presentation to the Architectural Committee of the Historical Commission were not approved due to a few design concerns from the committee. While we liked the design then, we like it even more now, after BVG Property Group and M Architects made some tweaks. Demolition activity has wrapped up since our last visit, incidentally.

Current view of the corner, now a brick and rubble filled hole

Here’s the side-by-side, to show you the changes between the previous plan and the now approved design.

Compare and contrast

The design team made numerous changes after receiving feedback from the Architectural Committee, including adding a darker brick base to ground the building, while also opening up the windows on the ground floor to give some additional height and scale. The asymmetrical fenestration has been complemented by more marble panels to provide more structure and rhythm to the windows on the upper floors. A new cornice was added about the fourth floor and the large-scale logo on the south-facing facade has been removed. But enough with the talking, let’s see some renderings!

A view of the Ben, looking southwest across 2nd & Race
An aerial rendering of the new building, looking west towards Center City
View looking down 2nd St., with some additional interior renderings
View looking across Race St., with a classy material palette
More details of the ground floor material selection
View of the large party wall shows the removal of the bridge graphic
A closer look at the residential entrance on Race St.
A closer look at the commercial entrance along 2nd St.

This is an instance where some slight revisions have made a huge impact. We love the darker brick base and how it ties the building together. The addition of the marble panels along the facade is also an interesting, classy touch that makes the design feel more cohesive. Look for a slight reduction in the cornice height, but otherwise this six-condo project should move forward soon in this current iteration. And who knows? Perhaps it will even encourage the owners of that pesky fake-sky billboard catty-corner to this to make a move in the near future. We won’t be holding our breath on that one, though.

The faux-sky billboard and surface parking at the northeast corner of 2nd & Race