Marquee developments along Philadelphia’s Market Street are playing a major role in the ongoing transformation of Center City from a typical central business district that empties out at 5 p.m. into a dynamic, 24/7, mixed-use, transit-oriented neighborhood.
On a Wednesday morning tour, ULI members got a close-up look at three properties whose owners hope will make a big impression with affluent and highly skilled workers: a renovated office property and a residential/retail project, both developed by Brandywine Realty Trust, and the still-under-construction Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, a 60-story trophy tower that is being jointly developed by Comcast and Liberty Property Trust. Brandywine and Liberty are sponsors of the ULI 2016 Spring Meeting.
All three projects are located next to a wealth of transportation options, including subway, commuter rail, trolley, and buses; all offer bike infrastructure such as parking stalls or storage/repair rooms.
Formerly known as the Stock Exchange Building, 1900 Market underwent a $25 million renovation of its common interior spaces, including a dramatic, glass-capped atrium that floods the eight-story building with natural light. Brandywine transformed a lackluster courtyard into a tranquil, conservatory-like space with stone and tilework, lush interior plantings, and design features including a koi pond, a waterfall, and fireplaces. Seating areas—perfect for solitude or small-group interactions—are located on multiple levels and are intended to foster collaboration between tenants. Creating a unique interior space that brings the outdoors inside is the building’s market differentiator, said Matthew Croce, a Brandywine senior leasing representative.
Across the street at 1919 Market, Brandywine and its development partner, LCOR, are betting on the work-hard, play-hard lifestyle of older millennials who put in long hours at the office and want home to be within walking distance. A 321-unit rental building, 1919 Market offers ultimate convenience to professionals who work in the area; that, and the amenities—an infinity pool, a CrossFit facility, a coffee bar, and a demonstration kitchen—are driving the building’s steady lease-up rate, said Donald Tracy, LCOR vice president.
The Comcast Innovation and Technology Center (CITC) will not be occupied by anchor tenant Comcast until 2017, but it has attracted nonstop buzz due to its height. At 1,121 feet (342 m), it will be Philadelphia’s tallest skyscraper with interiors that are open, adaptable, and designed to compete with Silicon Valley for tech talent. Significant transit investments by Liberty will result in the expansion of an underground concourse with food retail and public art that connects the CITC to the Comcast Center across the street and to Suburban Station, a high-traffic commuter rail and subway station.