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HOW Properties Working on New Student Housing Complex in West Philly

16 Apr 2014, 7:55 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A local real estate management company is building a new student housing facility on Woodland Avenue in the west section of Philadelphia—or West Philly, where student housing is scarce though the area is home to several well-established universities such as the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, the University of Sciences in Philadelphia and Saint Joseph’s University.

4619 Woodland Avenue - West Philadelphia

4619 Woodland Avenue – West Philadelphia

West Philly Local reports that HOW Properties is currently working on a 20,000-square-foot complex at 4619 Woodland Avenue that will offer housing options to students enrolled in the University of Sciences in Philadelphia (USP). The 1,890-square-foot development site is a formerly vacant parcel that HOW Properties acquired in July 2013 for $865,000 according to data from PropertyShark.

The three-story building will include 16 housing units in a combination of two-, three-, four-, and five-bedrooms and only one studio. Reportedly, the project had an estimated completion date set for August but the developer decided to push this date until next summer because many students had already signed leases for the 2014-2015 school year. According to West Philly Local, the units will be available for rents between $800 and $3,200 a month but the prices are expected to change next year.

HOW Properties also included a commercial retail space on the ground floor of the building and hopes to work with the USP board to identify a tenant that would be beneficial for the area and the building’s residents.


Rendering credits: HOW Properties

Rittenhouse Realty Advisors Sells Wyndmoor Gardens Apartment Asset for $7.1 Million

14 Apr 2014, 1:52 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A residential complex in Chestnut Hill, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of Philadelphia, recently changed ownership in a $7.1 million transaction.

Wyndmoor Gardens - Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia

Wyndmoor Gardens – Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia

Rittenhouse Realty Advisors sold the Wyndmoor Gardens apartment community at 219 E. Willow Grove Avenue to an undisclosed local private capital group. Located directly across the street from the Wyndmoor SEPTA Regional Rail Station and offering convenient access to downtown Philadelphia, Conshohocken and King of Prussia, the horse shoe shaped complex consists of five residential buildings totaling 88 apartments (63 percent of which are two-bedroom units), one retail store and 21 income-producing garages.

“The property traded at a sub 5% CAP on trailing 12 month numbers in the heart of Chestnut Hill,” stated Ken Wellar, managing partner with Rittenhouse Realty Advisors.

Wyndmoor Gardens was sold with excellent value-add opportunity for the buyer as most of the units haven’t been renovated and are still rented at below the market average. Information from LoopNet.com reveals that average rents in the Chestnut Hill submarket range from $900-$1,000 per month for one-bedroom units to $1,300-$1,400 per months for two-bedroom units. According to Rittenhouse, the new owner of Wyndmoor Gardens plans to complete high-end upgrades to the 88 units which could push up rents by a whopping 25 percent.


Image via Rittenhouse Realty Advisors

110 Luxury Apartments Under Construction at 2021 Chestnut Street

8 Apr 2014, 1:19 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

AQ Rittenhouse - 2021 Chestnut Street

AQ Rittenhouse – 2021 Chestnut Street

The wave of residential projects that hit the vibrant Center City neighborhood of Philadelphia continues with yet another upscale development at 2021 Chestnut Street near Rittenhouse Square.

In less than one week Aquinas Realty Partners is set to officially break ground on AQ Rittenhouse, a high-rise luxury apartment building designed for active young professionals looking for an urban lifestyle. The 12-story story will replace a long-vacant community center that served as an annex for the former YWCA building.

According to Philadelphia Inquirer, the four-story YWCA annex—a veritable source of blight—was purchased by Aquinas Realty in 2010 for around $1 million from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority

Designed by BLT Architects to qualify for LEED Silver certification, the $33 million AQ Rittenhouse will be a much-needed urban-infill redevelopment in a busy commercial and residential area in Center City. The mixed-use building will boast 110 first-class luxury units combined with nearly 5,000 square feet of street level retail/restaurant and commercial space brokered by CBRE |Fameco. The building’s basement will be occupied by the Freire Charter School. The list of amenities includes a fitness center, 24/7 concierge and doorman, dog wash room, wifi internet, extensive bike storage and repair shop, car share garage and roof top community gathering facility. Project plans also include a 2nd floor central courtyard offering panoramic views of Rittenhouse Square and the Philadelphia skyline.

When completed in late 2014, AQ Rittenhouse will offer mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments featuring hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, washer-dryer units, and granite countertops.


Rendering of AQ Rittenhouse credits to BLT Architects via Aquinas Realty Partners

Philadelphia Advances Strategic Plan to Create 1,500 New Low-Income Apartments

31 Mar 2014, 6:53 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A new housing plan that is expected to create more affordable units in gentrifying neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia was announced recently by the City Council.

The “1,500 New Affordable Housing Units Initiative” plan calls for 1,000 new affordable rental units and 500 new residential units available for ownership in strategic locations called Opportunity Zones, in an effort to balance Philadelphia’s uneven economic recovery. According to a City Council report, there is a list of more than 110,000 families waiting for PHA housing but only 1,500 units become available each year.

“The affordable housing crisis and growing income inequality are undeniably linked. Right now, Philadelphia has a great opportunity to reverse these negative trends and become a national model for how to strategically deploy public assets in order to promote healthier, more productive communities,” City Council President Darrell L. Clarke said in a statement.

The strategic initiative was designed to generate more than $680 million in economic activity and create over 4,200 jobs. It highlights five primary goals:

-     Use state and federal housing funds to their maximum potential;

-     Revitalize blighted neighborhoods by building affordable rental and ownership units on publicly owned land;

-     Advocate sustainable mixed-income communities by developing affordable rental and ownership units in the city’s rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods;

-     Convert publicly owned land into taxable properties;

-    Create both construction and construction-related jobs in addition to post-construction jobs in managing and maintaining the affordable rental units.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the monthly mortgage payments for the new ownership units would range between 15 percent and 23 percent of the target buyer’s monthly income. For the rental units the city is expected to set aside $100,000 for each of the 1,000 new affordable rentals in order to subsidize the related operational costs for the next 30 years. This would be possible with the help of a $100 million loan and additional affordable housing subsidies from the Philadelphia Housing Authorities.

Scannapieco Reveals Plans for $150 Million Ultra-Luxury Residential Tower in Old City

16 Mar 2014, 3:39 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Plans for an ultra-luxury residential tower in Philadelphia’s historic Old City neighborhood were announced this week by Scannapieco Development Corporation, the developer behind the highly successful condos at 1706 Rittenhouse Square in Center City.

500 Walnut - Old City Philadelphia

500 Walnut – Old City Philadelphia

Located at Fifth and Walnut Streets and facing Independence National Historic Park, the planned 500 Walnut tower will replace an underdeveloped 18,155-square-foot parcel that has been vacant for the past 10 years. Philadelphia Magazine notes that the construction site is currently owned by Five Hundred Walnut Associates, but Scannapieco is expected to purchase the lot for $8.5 million in the next 60 days.

Architect Cecil Baker was hired to create the conceptual design for the 26-story glass needle structure. “500 Walnut is perched on the threshold of history, and it’s also the gateway to society hill. As such, I envisioned it as a building that should be accepting and cognizant of its historical foreground, and at the same time, be a slim, elegant contemporary beacon in Philadelphia,” said Cecil Baker in a statement for the press. “It’s a unique opportunity—to be able to view the great paradigms of American history from atop your home in a building that is the first of its kind in Philadelphia.”

The super-luxury residential tower will be built at a $150 million cost and is projected to break ground in early 2015.  Starting spring 2017, when the building will be ready for occupancy, 500 Walnut will offer 40 housing units starting at 2,100 square feet. Fourteen of these apartments will be located on the upper floors and will be marketed as private, full-floor 4,200-square-foot units boasting large balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, fireplaces and private elevator access.

According to the developer, these full-floor units will range from $4 million to over $13 million. 500 Walnut will include only two penthouses, each of them featuring two stories with over 8,400 square feet of customizable space. Other amenities include a two-story fitness center with a large outdoor terrace overlooking National Historic Park, an underground fully automated parking garage for more than 80 cars.


Rendering courtesy of Cecil Baker and Partners via 500walnut.com

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