A Redesign and Pivot to Labs for Glassy Overbuild at 23rd & Market

The business district of Philadelphia, primarily centered around Market Street in Center City west of Broad, doesn’t exactly exude warmth. The glassy towers that line the stretch shot up mostly in the 1970s through the 1980s, with huge (for Philly) office buildings looming along this central thoroughfare. From City Hall to the Schuylkill River, there’s not much in the way of architecture that reflects the city’s older history, save for a few buildings here and there. One spot that has always stood out in this regard is the south side of the 2300 block of Market, where a trio of old buildings have been hanging on tight as the skyline tapers down towards the river.

View looking east shows trio of buildings

OCF Realty’s own Dennis Carlisle covered these properties for Hidden City several years ago, and as you may have guessed, we have some updates. A recent meeting of the Center City Residents Association (CCRA) provided us with an update proposal for the site. If you have a spare 20 minutes or so, you can check out the entire meeting below.

A quick synopsis: after a previous residential proposal for a Tantillo Architecture-designed overbuild from Lubert-Adler came and went a few years ago, the property was recently purchased by a joint venture from Tishman-Speyer and Bellco Capital, called Breakthrough Properties. This entity is currently developing millions of square feet of healthcare space across the world, and they plan on doing the same here. Check out how things look now, what might have been, and what’s coming our way for these properties from Kieran-Timberlake.

View from the corner of 23rd & Market as it looks today
Previous iteration consisted of hundreds of apartments over office and commercial
View looking south of the current proposal
North-facing facade shows glass and champagne colored paneling hovering above existing buildings
View looking east down Market shows how overbuild will interact with two remaining buildings
Proposed materials palette against the existing buildings

Now that is quite the change for the site. This glassy addition will consist of lab and office space and will be built on spec, meaning that while no tenant is solidified, they are building anyways. Lab space is just about the only time we see spec building within city limits, so it is definitely encouraging seeing a global player make such a large investment of this kind in Philly.

The existing buildings will be cleaned and restored to their original look, though the western-most building will sadly meet its end. The developers are currently working on a community benefits agreement with CCRA, meaning what we see here is likely what we can expect to see in the final product. Color us excited now that the canyon of Market Street will continue even further west while also maintaining such a key piece of its rapidly disappearing historic fabric. Per the developers, look for construction – which will include the dissembling and reassembling of the tallest building’s facade – to begin later this year, with a completion date in Q3 2024.