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Carl Dranoff Breaks Ground, Reveals Design For 47-Story Condo Tower On South Broad

A 7-foot-tall scale model of Dranoff Properties' Arthaus condo tower, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

In a lavish ceremony at the Kimmel Center Tuesday, Carl Dranoff revealed what he called "the crowning achievement of my career."

That achievement is a 47-story, 528-foot condo tower called Arthaus, which broke ground across South Broad Street as part of the ceremony. Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, the glassy skyscraper will have multiple terraces to give it the appearance of a "stairway to the sky," KPF founder Eugene Kohn said.

"Here's my finger," Dranoff said as he excitedly pressed the button to drop the curtains in front of a scale model of Arthaus. "Behold!"

Arthaus will contain 108 condominiums priced from $2M to $10M, all of which will have floor-to-ceiling windows and at least one corner for panoramic views. The ground floor will include one restaurant partially funded by a grant from the state's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, but a tenant has not been selected yet.

The ceremonial groundbreaking of Dranoff Properties' Arthaus condo tower, seen from the balcony of the Kimmel Center across South Broad Street

The site at 309 South Broad St., which used to be the home of Philadelphia International Records, has sat vacant since Dranoff Properties began assembling the land needed for a development seven years ago. The first proposal was a combination of condos and an SLS International-branded hotel, a plan that fell through when the RACP rejected an application for a larger grant.

Dranoff cast the recalibration as a blessing in disguise when speaking with reporters after the Tuesday announcement, saying that focusing solely on one use for the building allowed his company to deliver the best possible product.

Kohn said that Arthaus will likely be "the tallest structure for many years to come, I would think, between City Hall and the Delaware River," but it will not be the tallest residential building in the city when completed. That honor will go to Southern Land's The Laurel on Rittenhouse Square, which broke ground earlier this year and will be split between rentals and condos. 

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates founder Eugene Kohn, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Dranoff Properties CEO Carl Dranoff

Like the Laurel, Arthaus is being billed by its developers as a "beacon" to an already well-regarded area of Center City, standing at the corner of South Broad and Spruce streets. The corridor south of City Hall was dubbed "Avenue of the Arts" by then-Mayor Ed Rendell, who was among the politicians to speak at the podium on Tuesday.

The $253M Arthaus will have an amenity package meant to be unique enough to justify the price of an apartment, including a 75-foot indoor pool, a dog run and cleaning station, an indoor-outdoor kids' play area, multiple types of cooking/dining areas to host events, and what Dranoff considers the pièce de résistance: personal garden plots for residents on the sixth-floor roof terrace, complemented by an all-season greenhouse.

Dranoff said the gardening space is the first of its kind in North America, a place where residents have designated plots to grow "kale, tomatoes or ... any other sort of plant," to laughter from the audience.

All told, the amenities will take up 36K SF of the $253M building.

A rendering of Dranoff Properties' Arthaus 47-story condo building towering over the Kimmel Center across South Broad Street

City Councilman Mark Squilla, who Dranoff said was "instrumental" in shepherding the project through community meetings and land deals, and Mayor Jim Kenney were the other speakers at the event besides Dranoff, Kohn and Rendell. Kenney took some of his time at the podium to defend the controversial 10-year tax abatement.

"The abatement works, it has worked and it's the reason more people are living in Center City," Kenney said. "I do understand that council may need to tweak it so that it works better for people in other communities."

The latter part of his comment may have been a reference to the smoothing plan proposed by Councilman Allan Domb, who was in attendance but did not speak. Domb's proposal would taper the abatement in the final three years it applies to new construction, making it "effectively an eight-and-a-half-year abatement," as he as said in previous public comments.

Philadelphia City Councilman Mark Squilla, Mayor Jim Kenney, former Mayor and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, Kohn Pedersen Fox founder Eugene Kohn and Dranoff Properties CEO Carl Dranoff stand in front of a 7-foot scale model of Dranoff's Arthaus condo tower on June 11, 2019.

Dranoff said that debt financing for the project is being provided by The Related Fund and Bank of the Ozarks. Completion is estimated for late 2021, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.