Another large apartment complex, this time with a one acre-plus sized Whole Foods supermarket, is going to break ground soon in the Fairmount neighborhood. This complex will be called Rodin Square and it will be behind the Rodin Museum, and just north of the Ben Franklin Parkway. It will replace the Best Western hotel, which takes up most of the block bounded by Hamilton Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, 21st Street, 22nd Street, and Spring Garden Street. A few years ago, a developer wanted to build a highrise condo tower, to be called Parkway 22, but those plans fell through because of the recession (the developers did demolish one building of the Best Western, that was at the corner of 22nd and Spring Garden Streets). The Whole Foods market is moving from across 21st Street, where it is located in a building with a surface parking lot. That site may, also, be redeveloped sometime soon. Rodin Square has been approved by the City Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Adjustment to begin construction.
This new mixed-use complex is being built by Dalian Development and designed by Barton Partners and MV&A Architects. It will have 293 luxury apartments in a nine-storey building, that will be 122 feet tall. The first floor will have the 55,000 square foot Whole Foods and 19,000 square feet of other retail. The supermarket will have a 5,000 square foot café, which may include outdoor seating, and the market will have a glass curtain wall along Pennsylvania Avenue and Hamilton Street (the glass wall may have windows that open to the outdoor seating). There will, also, be retail at the corner of 22nd and Spring Garden Streets. The supermarket will be on two levels, and there will be office space at the second level of the 22nd and Spring Garden corner and a community room for the residents, on the second level, at 21st and Hamilton Streets. The main entrance to the residences will be on 21st Street, with stairs in the lobby leading to the community room. There will be 270 parking spaces for residents in an above ground garage on the 21st Street side and 172 parking spaces underground for the customers of the supermarket and other retail. The loading docks will be hidden in a special driveway running from 21st Street to 22nd Street. The apartment tower will be divided into two wings coming off a central portion and will be covered in large glass windows, except on the north side of the central portion, which will have some metal panels. There is an additional empty lot on the north, Spring Garden Street side that is still for sale, but that could be bought by the developers, of Rodin Square, to be developed in the future. There will be a green roof on the top of the highrise portion and a large patio and green roof, with a pool, above the supermarket facing Pennsylvania Avenue, the Rodin Museum, and the Parkway.
The plaza overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue and the Parkway is one of the most interesting features of this project. The layout of this building with a plaza and a shorter highrise building behind it is reminiscent of mid-twentieth century modern hotels that were common in cities like Los Angeles or Miami, unlike the highrise luxury apartment and condo buildings in most of Center City. This site, adjacent to the Parkway, is one of the few locations in Center City where this style of residential living, with this type of layout, could be built. Other developments, that have recently happened in the Fairmount neighborhood (also known as Franklintown, south of Spring Garden Street) include the Barnes Foundation museum on the Parkway at 20th Street, The Granary apartments and retail on Callowhill Street between 19th & 20th Streets, and The Tivoli Condominiums and townhouses, at 19th and Hamilton Streets. Future developments in the neighborhood include Museum Towers II, planned for 19th Street, the Mormon Temple, under construction at 17th and Vine Streets, a large mixed-use project, at 16th & Vine Streets, proposed by the Church of Latter Day Saints, the expansion of the Central Branch of the Free Library, at 20th and Callowhill Streets, the renovation of the soon-to-be former Family Courts building, on Vine Street, into a luxury hotel, and another highrise apartment tower planned to be built over the submerged Reading Viaduct City Branch at 21st Street, which may have a Bus Rapid Transit line and a jogging trail along it someday. The Parkway is experiencing many enhancements, including the completed Sister Cities Park, renovations to Dilworth Plaza at City Hall, which are underway, and rebuilding of Love Park and Eakins Oval, at either ends of the Parkway. South of the Parkway are other residential developments, such as the 1900 Arch apartments, The Arch apartments, at 17th and Arch Streets, and the 1919 Market Street apartment tower, at 20th and Market Streets. Also, developers Liberty Property Trust would like to build office buildings at 19th and Arch and 18th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard, as well as, a large mixed-use project on Arch Street between 18th and 19th Streets.
Having this mega-sized store, and another large, swanky apartment complex along Pennsylvania Avenue, would be a nice enhancement of the Art Museum neighborhood. If you are interested in buying or selling a home or investment property in Center City, or other neighborhoods in the city, then please contact me at Gabriel.firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my Long & Foster agent portal, here, or learn more about our Long & Foster Center City office, here. You can, also, view my Facebook realtor page, Gabriel G. Philly Realtor, or my twitter page, @GabrielGPhilaRE. You can, also, view the Zoning Board of Adjustment approval, here, and check out renderings and my pictures of the site and neighborhood, below.