Luxury apartments, in once-derelict buildings, could be a turning point for the Delaware waterfront

Two large industrial buildings, on Delaware Avenue at Brown Street, are being renovated into luxury apartments and promise to move the transformation of the Delaware River waterfront to a new level.  The two buildings are the eight-storey former warehouses commonly known as 700 North Delaware Avenue.  The new development is called Waterview Grande and will be a mix of the aforementioned luxury apartments, parking, and some much needed retail for the area.

The two buildings are about 80 years old and were used as cold storage facilities for most of their time.  In recent decades, parts of the buildings were used as part of Delaware Avenue’s nightclub district and included the Eighth Floor Dance Club, on the eighth and top floor of the northerly building, and a billiards hall on the first floor.  About six years ago, a developer bought the site and planned to demolish the buildings and build highrises, but that didn’t happen because of the recession and national financial crisis.  The new owner of the site, and developer of Waterview Grande, is Core Realty, owned by developer Michael Samschick.  Samschick is planning a much larger series of developments on the neighboring blocks, that he is preliminarily calling Penn Treaty Village, which would include a mix of housing, retail, hotels, and entertainment.  Waterview Grande is the first step in that development, and could very likely create the demand that would lead to other such development.

Waterview Grande will have 192 apartments, about 200 parking spaces, and approximately 50,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.  The retail could include a cafe, with outdoor seating, in a courtyard between the two buildings.  Most of the retail would be on the Delaware Avenue side, of course, but there is already a catering company on the Brown Street side.  There will be a green roof with a large patio space for events and movie nights, and possibly more community space inside.  There is, already, a small bar and lounging space in the lobby of the Brown Street entrance.  The southerly building has already been renovated and is renting out quickly to an upscale clientele.  The northerly building is still awaiting renovation, and the final plans for the retail, courtyard, and community space are still being finalized because that side has not yet started construction.  The facade and large windows have a modern look, that was designed by architecture firm H2L2, and resemble some of Northern Liberties industrial modernism.  As the planned amenities suggest, Core Realty is already considering converting the buildings to condominiums and I was told by officials for the project that current renters are being offered the option to possibly buy in about five years time.

The reason why this development could take the waterfront area to another level of residential development is because of its pivotal location.  Standing by the entrance, on Brown Street, one can see the large highrise Waterfront Square Condos, to the east on the waterfront, and the highrise American Loft, to the west in Northern Liberties.  Waterfront Square is a development of three luxury highrise condo buildings, that will someday be expanded to five highrise buildings when it is finally complete.  The American Loft is an 11-storey highrise, just west of Second Street on American Street, that was built a few years ago as a condo building but is now upscale rental apartments.  This creates a series of large luxury residential buildings within a relatively straight line going towards the waterfront, just north of busy Fairmount Avenue, and includes a significant amount of (largely upscale) retail that the waterfront has been needing.  What’s more is that renovating these long blighted buildings changes the image of the area.  Where as these conspicuously blighted buildings made the area look like a post-industrial wasteland, these modern residential buildings will make the area look like a modern, upscale loft district to passersby.  Of course, this is not the only development in, and improvement to, the area.  The City continues to plan, and build, a riverwalk and parks along the river bank, as well as, continues to improve the connections to the river along major roadways, such as Spring Garden and Race Streets.  The SugarHouse Casino intends to eventually expand and include retail on Delaware Avenue and along the riverwalk, which they are helping to fund.  And, I already mentioned Waterfront Square and Penn Treaty Village.  Waterview Grande’s mix of upscale residential and retail space, and its strategic location, may be what finally leads to development of the surrounding sites on Delaware Avenue and the Delaware waterfront, both planned and soon-to-be planned.

You can find out more about Waterview Grande from this old article, here, and from their website, here.  And, if you are thinking about buying, selling, or renting a home or investment property in these neighborhoods, or any others in Philadelphia, feel free to contact me at gabriel@thecondoshops.com or check out my Facebook realtor page, Gabriel G. Philly Realtor, or my twitter page, @GabrielGPhilaRE.  You can, also, check out any listings on our Condo Shop website, www.thecondoshops.com, or check out and like our Condo Shop Facebook page, The Condo Shop, or follow our Condo Shop twitter page, @The_Condo_Shop.  Also, you can view the pictures, that I took of the development and area, below.

View of Waterview Grande, from Delaware Avenue, shows the contrast between the renovated south building and the derelict north building, as well as, the space imbetween for a possible courtyard

The facade of the south building of Waterview Grande shows the large modern picture windows

A bridge connects the two buildings, above where a courtyard might be

The north building, of the complex, is awaiting renovation

Looking east on Brown Street, in front of the south building of Waterview Grande, with bamboo along the side and Waterfront Square in the background

The American Loft is to the west, in Northern Liberties

Waterfront Square, as seen from Brown Street in front of Waterview Grande, is to the east across Delaware Avenue

Bar and lounge area, in the lobby of the south building of Waterview Grande

Kitchen of an apartment in Waterview Grande

View of the river and Ben Franklin Bridge, from the living room of a unit in Waterview Grande

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4 Responses to Luxury apartments, in once-derelict buildings, could be a turning point for the Delaware waterfront

  1. Pingback: Every Luxury Highrise Helps | Hidden City Philadelphia

  2. Adam S says:

    The last pic definitely gives a good idea of the beautiful views that the building will have to offer. Happy to see projects like this continue to improve the Delaware waterfront!

  3. cma says:

    Unfortunately the views are the only great thing about this building. The developer has skimped on nearly every facet of the construction. The building is riddled with leaks and plumbing issues, promises of luxury living including a rooftop deck, pool, jacuzzi, and catered lunches on the weekends that which none of them exist but they continue to charge luxury living rent for much less than par amenities. The Waterview Grande has been opened for 9 months and has already had 2 great managers that have come and gone because the management company doesn’t care about it’s tenants – just the bottom line for the investors! Not a recommended place to live, not worth the money – it’s all flash but not worth the cash.

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