The Maine-based firm Thos. Moser that specializes in handmade wood furniture marked a triumphant return to Center City Thursday night with a grand opening party.

The high-end furniture maker is credited with making the wooden chairs that Pope Francis used at Independence Hall and Philadelphia International Airport during his visit last year.

"There is certainly a renaissance going on here," founder Tom Moser, a former college professor turned wood craftsman who flew in from Maine for the grand opening, said of his return to downtown Philadelphia. "You can feel it when you're here. You have all these young people and empty nesters moving in.

"We're optimistic," he added before joking:

"We got our certificate of occupancy four hours ago, at 3:30 p.m., so we're legit."

The store measures 2,900 square feet.

Moser's lease at 1605 Walnut Street next to a busy Apple store extended the corridor's hot streak. Other recent arrivals include eyewear company Warby Parker and New York-based fashion brand Rag & Bone, both to open by year's end.

Thos. Moser, formed in 1972, had a store on Washington Square from 1984 until 1994, and one just off Rittenhouse Square from 1994 until 1997.

Since 2011, it has had a location at 625 W. Lancaster Ave. in Wayne, which it closed in August to make way for its return to the downtown location.

"We've opened a new showroom as a build-to-order company," said Scott Wentzell, Moser's director of marketing. "It takes us about three months to build a piece of furniture.

"This showroom represents the evolution our company to be ever more relevant to a new generation of Moser customers, as well as reflect the core value that are familiar to those who have known us for 40 years."

Read the full story of Thos. Moser's return to Center City in Monday's Inquirer Business section.

sparmley@phillynews.com

215-854-4184 @SuzParmley