The 17th Place on Philadelphia YIMBY’s December 2021 Development Countdown goes to 21M, a 350-foot-tall mixed-use tower proposed at 2100 Market Street in Center City West. Developed by the Brandywine Realty Trust, the project has been in the works for several years and has seen various iterations, with the latest one designed by Edry McHenry Architects. Since we last reviewed the project for our last year’s countdown, no permits have been filed nor has any progress has been made at the site, where a parking lot continues to operate.
The latest proposal boasts an attractive, if unusual, design. The lower floors are massed as two separate, bronze-colored towers that support an angled, all-glass upper portion. On one hand, the design appears gimmicky, if not outright silly, with its whimsical facade and a “pants”-like appearance (which is not a YIMBY-coined term, as similarly-massed buildings, including a supertall in China, have been referred to by the moniker in the past). On the other hand, the massing makes clever use of the available square footage, placing the bulk of interior space in the coveted upper floors.
Given the lack of progress or news regarding the project over the course of the past year, it is quite possible that the development may be redesigned yet again. If that happens, we hope its height is upgraded again, at least matching some of the earlier proposals. If anything, the delay may prove to be a blessing in disguise. Center City West, an area situated along business district core to the east and University City to the west, has long been a forlorn no-mans-land dominated by parking lots. These days, however, it is on the precipice of major change, with a number of major developments in various stages of progress. Once these projects, including the office building under construction nearby at 2222 Market Street, come onto the market, it will certainly become easier for Brandywine to attract a major anchor tenant or development partner for the project, which may see an increase in scale and offerings.