Inga Saffron has generally admired Carl Dranoff’s business sense but not his architectural one. This time around, she has praise for both; Comcast’s new skyscraper will offer Philly’s priciest office space – but it’s still a bargain compared to New York and DC; Philly’s eds-and-meds nexus may add another med to its roster; and far be it from us to join the scrum of reporters and comedians dumping on this year’s Winter Olympic host city of Sochi, Russia – here’s some generally positive commentary on the architecture of the Olympic facilities that were actually finished on time:
For some Queen Village residents, it seems, too much parking ain’t enough – and the Zoning Board of Adjustment dismissed their objections to a 75-unit townhouse development with 1:1 parking and 30 more spaces nearby to boot; after they griped that the City Planning Commission was ignoring their concerns, Lower North Philly residents scoped out the latest draft of the district plan and pronounced it good; Hard on the heels of his Avenue of the Arts announcement, developer Carl Dranoff assures Main Liners he’s going ahead with the One Ardmore Place residential-retail project despite the loss of a $12 million state redevelopment grant; and it’s usually not a good sign when a seller doesn’t put up photos of what’s inside a house for sale, but it may be worth plunking down $679k on this Fitler Square fixer-upper given its size and character:
avenue of the arts real estate, dranoff properties ...
It’s been a while since City Hall was the tallest building in Philadelphia. Soon, it won’t even be the tallest building on Broad Street.
That honor will go to the 47-story tower, rising some 600-odd feet above Broad Street at Spruce, that developer Carl Dranoff formally announced at a noontime press conference at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, across the street from the building site. Continue reading →
Guns N’ Roses said the streets don’t change, but maybe the names. The band must have never immersed itself in the nitty-gritty world of urban planning in Philadelphia. If all things go according to plan for Dranoff Properties, not only will Cypress Street change, it will disappear entirely to make room for a 40-story mixed-use, hotel-condo tower called Avenue Place at Broad and Spruce streets in Washington Square West.
The tower, which will be the tallest building on the Avenue of the Arts South, would rise from the rubble of two buildings owned by Kenny Gamble: 301-09 S. Broad, a.k.a Philadelphia International Records, and another building built in 1910 at 311 S. Broad. Neither hold historic designation preventing demolition. Continue reading →
The facade isn’t even complete yet, let alone the interior. But just as leasing is already under way for the residential units in Southstar Lofts, Dranoff Properties is now looking for restaurant and retail tenants for the building’s ground-floor commercial space.
If the past is any guide, anyone considering opening a restaurant would do well to consider the space. Three new restaurants and a reincarnated favorite currently occupy choice space in Dranoff buildings on the Avenue of the Arts. Two of them have won high praise: modern Indian restaurant Tashan at 777 South Broad has garnered wide critical acclaim, and Top Chef Kevin Sbraga’s eponymous modern American restaurant, Sbraga, was named one of the “Best New Restaurants in the Country” by Esquire magazine last year. Both have restaurants for next-door neighbors as well: new Asian fusion eatery Chinamoto is right next to Tashan, and old contemporary Italian favorite Girasole is behind Sbraga on Spruce Street.
“It’s about building community,” Dranoff Properties CEO Carl Dranoff said in a news release. “Our desire to bring outstanding restaurants and retail to Southstar Lofts cannot be understated. In building this property, we wanted to create a unique experience in city living – an experience that includes restaurant and/or retail. To that end, the space at ground level has been properly vented for a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen but can also work to accommodate any retailer that wishes to make this new address along the Avenue of the Arts its home.”
The street floor contains 10,079 square feet of leasable space. Southstar Lofts is designed to be a hinge on the Avenue of the Arts, joining the more intense Center City segment of the thoroughfare with its lower-key South Philly segment, and to project South Broad Street’s increased energy further south.