New 25-storey highrise apartment building at 38th & Chestnut Streets in University City

rendering of the new apartment tower at 38th & chestnut streetsA new highrise apartment tower is planned for the busy intersection of 38th and Chestnut Streets.  This is the latest story on my blog about highrise apartment towers in the city.  This apartment tower will replace two historic townhouses (at 3723 and 3725 Chestnut Street), a small apartment building that used to be a townhouse, and a small yard next to the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, on 38th Street, in University City.  The developer is Radnor Property Group, which is purchasing the neighboring properties from the Episcopal Cathedral to build the apartment tower and in order to provide revenue to renovate the existing church building and fund the church’s community programs.  It is being designed by BLT Architects, also known as Bower, Lewis, Thrower Architects.

The new tower will be 25 storeys tall and have 280 rental apartment units, and it will have retail at the street level, along both Chestnut and 38th Streets.  It will have a linear, modernist look with abundant windows and balconies.  There will be a church community center and school, attached to the original church structure, and a day care center in the basement.  The church applied to have the historically designated townhouses, that were used as the church’s parish house, demolished last year, arguing that they did not have sufficient funds to afford the approximately $3 million renovation of their historically designated cathedral and needed to sell the townhouses and yard to obtain those funds.  The City’s Historical Commission granted the demolition permits, saying that the demolition was in the “public interest” according to preservation laws, but the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia objected to the demolition, arguing that the townhouses, designed by architect Charles M. Burns, were still too historically significant and that tearing down historically designated buildings to save other historically designated buildings would set a dangerous precedent.  When the Preservation Alliance lost their appeal to the Historical Commission, they decided to work out an agreement in which the Episcopal Cathedral committed in writing to spending the funds from the sale of the next door properties to renovation of the existing cathedral and agreed to a timeline for the renovation and maintenance for 50 years, if the Preservation Alliance dropped their lawsuit in Common Pleas Court.  The developers are planning to break ground in September and be ready for occupancy by 2015.

This latest apartment tower is located in an important area and it will be designed to appeal to a broad group of tenants, not just the usual student tenants.  Its location next to the rapidly expanding University City Science Center, and close to the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University campuses, will make it attractive for workers in those locations, as well as, come Center City workers.  It will, also, further animate a key intersection in University City and add to the skyline of this part of the city (although, I don’t think it would be a bad idea if the developers preserved and renovated the facades of the brownstones as part of the project).  It is one of several major developments in the center of University City, including the Science Center developments at 38th & Market Streets and 34th & Market Streets, and another new highrise apartment tower, soon-to-be built by the Science Center, at 36th & Market, that will make the heart of University City feel like an extension of the city’s downtown.  Also, developer Campus Apartments is planning to build a new apartment building, at 41st and Walnut Streets; next to the new Homewood Suites by Hilton, and a highrise apartment tower and highrise office tower at a large site at 42nd & Chestnut, which is currently occupied by a large brick warehouse.  And, the link between University City and Center City is being strengthened by the development of the Cira Centre residential and office highrises that I recently wrote about.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home or investment property in the ever-changing University City neighborhood, or any other neighborhood in the city, please contact me at gabriel.gottlieb@lnf.com or check out my Long & Foster agent portal, heremy Facebook realtor page, Gabriel G. Philly Realtor, or my twitter page, @GabrielGPhilaRE.  You can, also, check out our Long & Foster Real Estate Philly Center City Office, here.  And, you can learn more about Radnor Property Group, here, and check out the renderings and my pictures of the site, and the soon-to-be demolished townhouses, and the neighborhood, below.

Rendering of the new apartment tower at 38th & Chestnut Streets

Rendering of the new apartment tower at 38th & Chestnut Streets

Elevation drawings of the new apartment tower

Elevation drawings of the new apartment tower

Rendering of the lower levels of the new tower, shows church offices and retail spaces

Rendering of the lower levels of the new tower, shows church offices and retail spaces

Future site of the apartment tower at 38th and Chestnut Streets

Future site of the apartment tower at 38th and Chestnut Streets

Episcopal Cathedral

Episcopal Cathedral

The historic townhouses and garden of the Episcopal Cathedral

The historic townhouses and garden of the Episcopal Cathedral

Sign of the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral

Sign of the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral

The historic former parish house of the Episcopal Cathedral

The historic former parish house of the Episcopal Cathedral

Bay windows of the historic brownstone parish house

Bay windows of the historic brownstone parish house

Looking east on Chestnut towards Center City

Looking east on Chestnut towards Center City

Looking west on Chestnut Street, from 38th Street

Looking west on Chestnut Street, from 38th Street

Looking south down 38th Street, from Chestnut Street, towards Wharton School buildings and University City Medical Campus

Looking south down 38th Street, from Chestnut Street, towards Wharton School buildings and University City Medical Campus

Looking north on 38th Street, from Chestnut Street, towards University City Science Center future construction sites

Looking north on 38th Street, from Chestnut Street, towards University City Science Center future construction sites

Street signs at 38th & Chestnut Streets

Street signs at 38th & Chestnut Streets

St. Agatha St. James Roman Catholic Church, across Chestnut Street from the site

St. Agatha St. James Roman Catholic Church, across Chestnut Street from the site

International House dormitory, next to the site of the new apartment tower

International House dormitory, next to the site of the new apartment tower

Popular businesses on 38th Street, across the street from the site of the future apartment tower

Popular businesses on 38th Street, across the street from the site of the future apartment tower

Center City skyline, from 38th & Ludlow Streets

Center City skyline, from 38th & Ludlow Streets

Route 21 bus goes into Center City, along Chestnut Street

Route 21 bus goes into Center City, along Chestnut Street

Large parking lot at 38th & Market Streets will be developed with a large office development in the Science Center, almost across the street from the new tower

Large parking lot at 38th & Market Streets will be developed with a large office development in the Science Center, almost across the street from the new tower

Sign and rendering of proposed office development at 38th & Market Streets

Sign and rendering of proposed office development at 38th & Market Streets

Construction of 3737 Market Street office building in the Science Center, a block from 38th & Chestnut

Construction of 3737 Market Street office building in the Science Center, a block from 38th & Chestnut

Site at 36th & Market Streets will soon have another apartment building

Site at 36th & Market Streets will soon have another apartment building

This site, at 34th & Market Streets, will also have a highrise office building soon

This site, at 34th & Market Streets, will also have a highrise office building soon

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About gabrielcgottlieb

I am a real estate agent at Long & Foster Real Estate Center City and someone who likes to write about development and urban planning in the City of Philadelphia. Contact me at Gabriel.gottlieb@LNF.com if you are interested in buying or selling a home or investment property in Philadelphia.
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5 Responses to New 25-storey highrise apartment building at 38th & Chestnut Streets in University City

  1. Bobby says:

    It is actually a nice and helpful piece of info.
    I am glad that you shared this helpful information with us.
    Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi there, just wanted to say, I liked this blog post. It was
    helpful. Keep on posting!

  3. Tye says:

    great post. looking forward to an update on the building process. i work for URBANIGLOO so this is music to my ears. thanx for sharing

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