Monday, July 18, 2011

A Pulse At South Broad?

Real estate development in Philadelphia appears to be showing signs of life after a near fatal heart attack (aka the recession of 2007) nearly crippled and halted almost every major development in the city. After four years of setbacks and disappoints it now seems the city's main artery is poised for a rebound. 

The newest proposal on South Broad comes from Dranoff Properties who outbid P&A Associates (builders of the St. James and Murano) to develop the parcel of land located at the northeast corner of South and Broad, which is now occupied by the Garden of the Arts. Dranoff has given us such architecturally "unique" buildings as the Gumdrop Mountain-inspired Symphony House and the take-it-or-leave-it faux-art deco, 777 South Broad. While something reminiscent of Peanut Brittle House or Candy Cane Forest might have been more interesting for Broad Street's missing tooth, the design offers an acceptable and pleasant alternative to what seemed to be P&A's homage to the decaying Soviet Era buildings of suburban Budapest. The proposed project features an L-shaped six-story apartment building with an adjacent "pocket park", which may possibly serve the retail space located on the ground floor.

While critics continue to censure the shortcomings and follies of Dranoff's previous projects, this particular proposal seems to compliment the architectural aesthetic of the neighborhood and provide the necessary density/infill for an area that desperately needs it.  Regardless of the final design, this project has the potential to inject some much needed vitality into the southern extremities of Center City. 

                               Dranoff Properites' winning proposal for Broad and South

                                   P&A Associate's proposed building for the site

1 comment:

  1. Eh, the P&A proposal isn't that bad. It's basically the same type of design as the Modules up at Temple (same architect too), and they look pretty darn good.

    Regardless, I think the vernacular style of the Dranoff proposal is somewhat more pleasing, aesthetically. Of course, then again I'm OK with the Broad Street-side urbanism of 777 South Broad (and not quite so okay with the Juniper Street-side unurbanism).