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51-story W/Element hotel work starts, as stores rise nearby

Contractors prepare hotel, store work SE of City Hall

Construction equipment has been materializing over the past two weeks in the parking lot at 1441 Chestnut St. in Center City, where developer Brook Lenfest, son of cable TV billionaire-philanthropist-Inquirer owner H.F. Lenfest, is preparing a $280 million, 51-story project -- twin hotels, W (upstairs) and Element by Westin -- totalling over 700 rooms and backed by $75 million in public grants, tax benefits and low-cost loans. Owner is Lenfest's firm, Chestlen Development LP, of West Conshohocken; developer is Vine Street/Matthews Southwest LP; general contractor is Tutor Perini Building Corp.

Plenty of other cranes setting up in that neighborhod: See also Brickstone's "Mixed-Use Development," to be built by Clemens Construction, and for which Larry Steinberg at CBRE/Fameco is recruiting tenants, at 1112-28 Chestnut St.

And that's just south of the city-administered Girard Block, where demolition continues on the former N. Snellenburg's (corrected) department store in the 1100 block of Market St. for the National Real Estate Advisors/Joss Realty Partners/Young Caplital/SSH Real Estate-backed East Market retail-apartment-offices project, which will eventually consume the whole block.

And that's before the serious llifting starts in the redevelopment of PREIT/Macerich Co.'s Gallery.