Market Street's Big Makeover
Market Street East is the watched teapot of Philly’s real estate scene, and now—with the announced transformation of a whole city block—it's seriously ready to boil.
DC’s National Real Estate Advisors is behind the project to redevelop the former Girard Square block at 11th and Market. CEO Jeffrey Kanne tells us that the aptly renamed East Market project will begin by replacing the low-rise retail building facing Market Street with a mixed-use retail center and apartment tower. Construction will eventually extend down to Chestnut Street and bring a smaller-scale, boutique shopping experience with more apartments to supplement the robust activity on Market. (We have a great business plan for a boutique store that sells wigs and fake moustaches. Any takers?)
With leases terminated, all tenants will be out by July, and work should commence on Phase 1, which should eventually transform East Market into 140k SF of retail with a 325 apartments rising above. The construction gives National the chance to put modern amenities in place, among them a business center, fitness center, and third-floor decks. An additional 150k SF will be available for offices but could go residential based on demand. And for shopping? A large variety of tenants are slated, and Jeff says to expect a mix of fashion, restaurants, and entertainment to revitalize the block.
Aerial view of the site, with the 13-story Girard Building (center left) and Family Court building separating the Market Street retail to the north from the Chestnut Street corridor to the south. To bring in pedestrians and traffic, Ludlow and Clover Streets will also reopen to the public. Jeff calls it part of a strategy to "honeycomb" the development with more intimate passageways that are characteristic of Center City neighborhoods. (No bee could be reached for comment.)
National has been intrigued by Market Street's potential since working on the conversion of 1201 Chestnut into luxury apartments. Combined with its 2116 Chestnut tower that opened last year, National is in good position to testify that Philly's multifamily boom is bringing some very measurable intellectual capital into the city. Despite its bad rap, Jeff relates that he was "astonished" by the number of residents with advanced degrees living in proximity to the East Market site. With the opportunity to redefine a whole block in an area where it's hard to build new core product, Jeff says that retailers are paying big attention.
And where Market goes, retail on Chestnut can’t be far behind. As far as work goes, it’s actually a few steps ahead: Demolition work is in progress at 1118 Chestnut across from the site of East Market Phase Two. Brickstone Realty plans to construct two new buildings (replacing the ones pictured at left) and renovate a third, bringing in 80 apartments and 70k SF in retail space to the block.