A project that has been years in the making may finally be close to breaking ground. Carl Dranoff demolished two buildings at 301-19 S. Broad St. in early 2015. One of the buildings was the former Philadelphia International Records. Both buildings were beautiful. The lot has sat vacant ever since.
In 2014, before demolition, Dranoff secured construction permits for a 125 residential unit building, with a 151 room hotel, ground-floor restaurant, and 233 parking spaces included. The hotel was to be a high-end SLS Hotel and the building was to rise 607 feet. Dranoff also gained approval to strike the tiny Cypress St., which ran through the property, from the grid. Although we were extremely disappointed to see the two old buildings go, we were excited to see that a skyscraper was coming to South Broad Street.
Years passed, and nothing happened at the site. In July of 2018, new use permits were issued with a bunch of changes. The building height was reduced from 607 feet to 542 feet. The hotel portion of the project was slashed and the residential unit count went from 125 to 107. The restaurant space remained in the proposal. The parking count was reduced to 161 and 40 bike spaces were added to the plan. We thought we may see some action before the end of the year, but were disappointed to still observe a stagnant site during the Mummers Parade.
New construction permits were finally issued for the 107 residential unit building in February of 2019. After all of the delays, we were not sure what to think. Was this really going to move forward? Or, was this just another tease?
It looks like we may finally have our answer. Over the last couple of days, we have seen some action on South Broad St. Heavy machinery is on site and a crew was busy doing site prep when we walked by. We may finally see a tower rise across the street from the Kimmel Center.
We have not seen any updated renderings, but thought the original SLS Hotel rendering was attractive. We are hoping that Dranoff Properties proceeds with a similar design. We expect these residential units to be luxury condos. Dranoff has built a bunch of other high-end condo projects. One Riverside was his most recent condo development in Philadelphia and his One Ardmore apartment complex in the suburbs just wrapped up.
We look forward to the skyline expanding southward. Even with the reduced height, this building should still have a significant impact on the skyline. With this building, The Laurel on Rittenhouse Square, and two Schuylkill Yards towers potentially breaking ground by December, skyscraper lovers in Philadelphia could be in for a real treat.