By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor
The former John Wanamaker School building located at 12th Street and West Montgomery Avenue in North Philadelphia is being reconverted into a mixed-use facility that will serve Temple University students. Though the official groundbreaking ceremony was held last week at the site, the project was originally presented in 2008 when development company The Goldenberg Group purchased the 4.5-acre property from the Philadelphia School District for almost $11 million but had to be stalled because of the economic downturn that hit the real estate industry.
A joint venture between Goldenberg and Bright Hope Community Development Corp., the economic development arm of the Bright Hope Baptist Church, the $100 million investment will bring a much-needed housing option for Temple University students. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, nearly 10,000 Temple students live around campus but the University is able to provide housing for only half of them.
When completed in fall 2014, the 14-story Wanamaker Plaza North Tower will provide 238 rental units for 832 Temple students. The 320,000-square-foot facility will include a fully equipped fitness center, an interactive game room, stand up tanning beds, an indoor bicycle storage area, laundry facilities on each floor, multiple study rooms and a residents’ lounge on the 14th floor.
Designed by local architecture firm Wallace, Roberts & Todd (WRT) to achieve LEED Silver certification, the structure will also feature a green rooftop, storm water management and energy-saving systems, a garage with 80 parking spaces and 11,000 square feet of ground floor retail space.
Work at the site is being overseen by Philadelphia-based construction management firm Torcon, Inc., which is working closely with Constructure Management of Malvern, PA.
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Rendering of the Wanamaker Plaza North Tower courtesy of WRT