A stately, massive townhouse situated in the middle of arguably the ritziest block in Center City has sold for a tidy $4.3 million, quietly passing hands from one of Comcast's top executives to a grocery store magnate Oct. 21, according to city records.
1817 Delancey Pl. was sold by NBCUniversal CEO Stephen Burke and his wife, Gretchen, to ShopRite executive Jeff Brown and his wife, Sandy, according to the property deed filed Nov. 5.
Burke bought the property, which is three blocks south of Rittenhouse Square, in 2010 for what was thought by some at the time to be the highest price ever for a Philadelphia townhouse: $5.85 million.
But three years later, he put the prized property back on the market. By then, Burke, who previously served as Comcast's chief operating officer, was in charge of NBCUniversal, which the Roberts family had acquired in a $30 billion merger. The deed for 1817 Delancey Pl. shows that the Burkes now reside on Manhattan's Upper West Side in a highrise apartment overlooking Central Park.
Brown, a fourth generation grocer of local roots, operates 10 ShopRite stores in the Delaware Valley through his company, Brown's Super Stores, Inc.
In 2010, Brown appeared at the State of the Union address as a guest of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. They hailed Brown's efforts to open food markets in Philadelphia neighborhoods long neglected by large grocery stories.
The purchase price would seem to favor Brown, considering Burke first put the house on the market in 2013 for an asking price of $5.6 million. Twice, the listing price was lowered. And a report posted on Phillymag.com last month indicated the home was under contract for a year before the deal was sealed.
Robin Gordon, a realtor for the Burkes, said it was an all-cash purchase. She added that the one-of-a-kind house lasted so long on the market because its massive size — more than 8,000 square feet — offers a much more unique experience for prospective Center City residents than many of the high-end condominiums that have gone on the market in the last decade.
"Town homes in Center City, high-end town homes, take longer (to sell)," Gordon, of Berkshire Hathaway, said. "This is a different lifestyle."
Sandy Brown told Philly.com that the house presents a new life experience for her and her husband.