A soaring glass residential tower is being proposed by developer Carl Dranoff for the spot across the street from the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts where he first envisioned a condo-hotel hybrid seven years ago.
In its latest — and likely final — iteration, the Broad and Spruce Street tower to be known as Arthaus will stand 47 stories and host 108 balconied condominiums that will range in price from $2 million to more than $10 million, Dranoff said ahead of a groundbreaking ceremony planned for Tuesday morning.
Dranoff said he hopes the tower will become become his signature contribution to the Center City cultural zone nicknamed Avenue of the Arts. His target buyers are part of a “silver tsunami” of wealthy empty nesters selling their big suburban homes, and he aims to tempt with a blend of thoughtful architecture, dramatic views, ample indoor and outdoor space, as well as parking.
“This is a building that offers everything people want but they can’t get,” he said.
The $253 million building’s amenities will include 36,000 square feet of shared space atop the lower floors that make up the tower’s base, with a 75-foot-long heated indoor pool and raised garden beds on one of four separate outdoor decks for residents to grow flowers and vegetables.
It will replace an empty pit that has been a notorious eyesore since Dranoff announced plans in late 2013 for a 47-story tower with 125 residences and 149 hotel rooms under SBE Entertainment Group’s SLS brand and razed the disused buildings that previously stood at the site.
In mid-2018, with no work having progressed, Dranoff filed for zoning permits to develop the tower as an entirely residential building, with no hotel rooms.
He said this week that the hotel plan began losing steam as SBE was distraced from the project while pursuing its acquisition of Morgans Hotel Group. But had the plan with SBE been realized, he said, much of the space now set aside for the residents’ pool, decks and other amenities would have been designated for hotel use.
“When you try to put two very dissimilar uses into a building, neither one of them is going to be the best," he said.
With its completion, scheduled for fall 2021, the tower would be the latest in a string of projects Dranoff developed along a section of Broad Street that was coined Avenue of the Arts under former Mayor Ed Rendell. The economic development effort produced the Kimmel Center as a complement to such existing cultural institutions as the University of the Arts.
Architect Eugene Kohn of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, is designing the Arthaus tower as a vertical bundle of latticed glass rectangular boxes. He said he conceived of the building as a signpost on the skyline, pointing visitors and residents toward the arts enclave.
“You look at certain towers and know immediately where something is,” Kohn said. “It looks like, ‘Hey, that’s an interesting thing, we should go see it.’ Then you see the arts district across the street.”
At the same time, Dranoff said, the project picks up on the work he began in the mid-2000s with the Symphony House condo building on the southwest corner Broad and Pine Streets and continued with the 777 S. Broad St. and Southstar Lofts apartments farther south.
The Arthaus tower may now herald a new age of skyline-defining towers along South Broad Street anchored by the arts institutions. Prominent development sites on the street include a property Dranoff owns on the northeast corner with Pine Street — where another project with SBE had been planned — and parcels on South Street held by the Goldenberg Group and E-Z Park Inc.
“I think it’s a tipping point,” Dranoff said.