Six years after first announcing plans to redevelop a vacant site that used to house the office and studio of Philadelphia International Records, Dranoff Properties finally broke ground on Arthaus, a 47-story, 108-unit condominium tower in Philadelphia’s Center City.
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The $253 million high-rise, designed by Philadelphia native Eugene Kohn of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, will feature more than 4,200 square feet of ground-floor retail space and more than 36,000 square feet of amenities, including a rooftop greenhouse with individual planting beds. Residences will offer floor-to-ceiling windows, wide-plank oak flooring, oversized balconies and panoramic views.
Arthaus continues Dranoff Properties’ established approach of leading development in areas that have witnessed little recent development. The residential tower will be move-in ready by fall 2021, according to the developer.
“We sold out four straight condominium high-rise projects, starting with Symphony House in 2008,” Dranoff Properties’ chief executive officer Carl Dranoff told Multi-Housing News. “There’s no inventory of new units available in Philadelphia. If you were selling a home in the suburbs and wanted to buy something brand new, there is nothing. This development was on the boards three years ago. We’re finally getting underway and we’ll have something new and exciting, which is what people want.”
The collaboration between Dranoff Properties and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates was intended to ensure the project’s design reflected its Philadelphia Avenue of the Arts surroundings. The design received its inspiration from the Bauhaus movement, which emphasized form and function as opposed to excess decoration.
Development of Arthaus is timed to what Dranoff terms a “silver tsunami” of older adults selling homes in the suburbs and moving into cities. “That demographic gets bigger every year, they have a lot of disposable income and they’re becoming urbanites,” he told MHN. “In some cases, they’re buying a condo in the city, a condo in Florida and maybe something at the shore.”
Dranoff emphasized the project’s walkability, which enables the residents almost immediate access to many dining and entertainment venues. “At Arthaus, we’re right across the street from Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which in New York City would be like being right across the street from Lincoln Center,” he added.
One of the few downsides of the site was the absence of parkland or green space near the development, Dranoff said. “So we put the green space in the building. We have lots of culture and art nearby, but not a park so we put a park in the building.”
Asked what had to be done to ensure the development started when it did, Dranoff said the company got its equity lined up, and obtained financing and all city permits.
“In this era of galloping costs, the best thing you can do is lock in the numbers,” he noted. “Subs and contractors build in their inflation numbers because they don’t know when it’s going to start. In this case, we knew it would start the next day. We’ve learned how to do it and do it right.”