Maybe Double Check Those Reservations at the Society Hill Sheraton

We’re in the middle of a hospitality renaissance in Philadelphia, with several new hotels opening over the last few years and a few more still on the way. Off the cuff, we can remember the openings of Hotel Monaco, the unfortunately designed Home2 Suites, the Aloft Hotel on North Broad, the Cambria Hotel on South Broad, and the Fairfield Inn in the old Parker Hotel, and there have definitely been others. And like we said, there are additional hotels in the works, like the W at 15th & Chestnut and the Four Seasons in the new Comcast building. All this is a long way of saying that the existing hoteliers need to take a long look in the mirror and make some significant upgrades if they hope to remain competitive.

The Sheraton Society Hill was constructed in the mid-1980s on a sizable, crescent-shaped property across the street from the Society Hill Towers. We certainly don’t remember this neighborhood during that time period, but given the state of Philadelphia as a whole in the 1980s, we have to think that the construction of this hotel was a coup when it happened. And to its credit, the hotel has been a reliable standby in this touristy area, garnering pretty good reviews on Tripadvisor while offering reasonable rates. Images from Tripadvisor show a hotel that’s still in pretty good shape, but could benefit from some updating.

View of the hotel
Southern section of the property

It’s a safe bet that the hotel will receive said updating in the relatively near future. According to a story from Philly.com, the Buccini/Pollin Group bought the property earlier this year for a whopping $95.5M. True, the parcel is in a very desirable location and the property at 1 Dock St. does cover over two acres, but that’s still a whole lot of scratch. By right, the new owners pulled a permit last week to build a 31-story addition here, with 273 apartments. The Philly.com story indicates that the addition will be located on the southern end of the property, which is currently sitting vacant. We have to think that this project will also entail the renovation of the existing hotel, as the owners previously indicated such a plan, which would also mean bringing in a new operator.

Society Hill Towers across the street
Another hotel, across Columbus Blvd.

Due to the size of the project, the developers will need to go to Civic Design Review and they will, in addition, need to meet with the community as a result. As we’ve told you previously, the CDR process is purely advisory, so even if the CDR committee hates the project and the neighbors feel the same, the developers will be free to build whatever they desire, due to the by-right nature of the project. Fortunately, that CDR wrinkle will provide us with additional information and some renderings, once the developers submit their CDR packet to the City. Stay tuned for more info on the project, as soon as we get our mitts on that CDR packet.