Friday, April 07, 2006

Condos and Rumors of Condos

While wandering around town, poking our heads into various construction sites, we can't help but take the pulse of the condo market. After all, the question of the day, and every day, is, "How long will Philadelphia's condo craze keep oing?" We can't answer that, but we can report that a couple of good projects seem stuck in neutral because they are unable to accumulate enough pre-sales to get green-lighted by the banks. One unfortunate casualty of the slowing market is Brown/Hill's 205 Race Street, designed by the New York architects SHoP, in Old City. It would be a shame if this elegant mid-rise didn't get built because it is a fine building, with ground-floor retail, underground parking, and interesting, rhythmic facades. It would also help populate a rough edge of Old City.
This isn't the only project where dirt is being moved around and around, without any actual digging taking place. We hear through the grapevine that the Murano, another well-designed project, is also struggling to meet its threshold for pre-sales. Like 205 Race Street, the tower at 21st and Market Streets might be considered on the edge of things. Its construction would fill in an crucial gap between the Rittenhouse Square and Logan Square neighborhoods, and make Market Street a lot more interesting.
It wouldn't be right to say the market is cooling across the board. Location is everything. Sales at the art deco Ayer Tower, which overlooks Washington Square, are reported to be brisk. The former headquarters for the N.W. Ayer advertising agency is one of those typically understated, Philadelphia-style art deco buildings. But the more you look, the more you notice its fantastic, stylized carvings of birds, robed figures and open books. It's being converted by Brown/Hill and the Goldenberg Group, who had the wit to avoid imposing faux deco on the interiors. Instead, Wesley Wei is giving the units a light, minimalist look that will make the Ayer the airiest building in town.

11 Comments:

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9:59 PM  
Blogger vincedean said...

FUCK YOU anonymous !!!! This is the third time you've advertised on Inga's blogs . Its really tacky !!

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As tacky as Anonymous' ads may be, your profanity, vincedean, is also extremely inappropriate. Now... onto a real comment.... Inga, don't believe everything you hear on the "grapevine" about sales for the new crop of proposed condos. I hear the Murano is thisclose to finalizing its financing, having met its pre-sales goal. Both 205 Race and the Murano are elegantly designed, urban buildings that represent a whole new level of quality in Center City residential construction. I hope they both get built... along with a number of other fine new designs, such as Mandeville Place, Residences at the Ritz, 10 Rittenhouse, and Grasso's building at 16th & Vine.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inga:
I hope all three places get built, The Murano, 208 Race and the elegant Mandeville Place. Does any one know about Dranoff properties plans for S. Broad Street, between Fitzwater and Catharine Streets? I saw some pretty sorry looking drawings. Dranoff already stained the Ave of Arts with his bulky unimaginative Symphony House. Compare that (S.H.) to the new 500 unit Grove Pointe Condos in Jersey City, NJ which expands into the neighborhood or the 2 tower glass 30 story buildings planned for Journal Square in Jersey City by Harwood properties. PHILLY needs a more active planning board to ensure quality development all over Center City... I do miss those cheese Steaks!!

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Steven Vance said...

Chicago has a Logan Square neighborhood.

2:08 AM  
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9:46 AM  
Blogger vincedean said...

To anonymous # 1: Again Very Nice!?!
To anonymous # 2 : I apologize to you, Inga and everyone else for my use of profanity but, it offends me almost as much as a surface parking lot in Center City !
After doing some reserch myself, I have a comment about the blog entry. The website for old City 205 and athough a-lot of units were available, many had been sold.I walked by the Murano yesterday and the construction crew was there working on the foundation. As for Mandeville Place, the design is so superior, I'm sure it will get built on that feature alone. I believe the buildings with central locations won't have problems selling, as these are all in prime locations. Others like Metro Club seem to be in trouble, as witnessed by price reductions and units being offered as rentals. One project that had been floundering, Old City 101, is currently under construction. Obviously, it is about location,location,location !

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is really a seriously irresponsible article. When I took journalism courses in college we were urged to check facts before publishing gossip. These developers are spending millions marketing and selling their buildings and you print as rumor, rumors that they are not selling well? Pick up a phone, do an interview...you know be a journalist. You really push the boundaries of libel with your irresponsible articles. If anyone wants to defend Inga, I will happily repsond with a list of her other articles that contain factual errors...Dockside post from last fall for example.

Your editors need to rein you way in because you are out of control and just plain lazy!

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Inga Saffron said...

If you believe a fact is wrong, please state which one. The information about slow pre-sales comes straight from the mouths of the developers.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can someone tell me about the 40 story tower proposed for NEC of 12th and Wood above Jannys diner? .5 blck N of Vine st.

12:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Murano is selling well and THAT is truly straight from the developers. They are fully under construction exceeding the pre-sales needed to begin. Inga, I think your relationship with the Ayer's listing Realtor (I will not mention any names) is clouding your judgement on even and balanced reporting.

4:28 PM  

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