Philadelphia YIMBY Shares Skyline Massings of Two-Tower Virgin Hotel Proposed in Rittenhouse Square, Center City

Virgin Hotels looking southwest. Image via The Badger GroupVirgin Hotels looking southwest. Image via The Badger Group

For years, Philadelphia YIMBY has published in-house-made skyline massings, of old developments and new proposals alike, and today we bring another project to our readers. Recently, images of a new Virgin Hotels development proposal have surfaced, showing two new buildings at 500 South Broad Street in Rittenhouse Square Center City. Shown in renderings are a taller tower standing 36 floors and a shorter tower rising 23 stories. The project is being designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill and developed by The Badger Group, Dranoff Properties, The Goldenberg Group LLC, and Virgin Hotels, which will have their logo displayed on the north tower. In this feature, Philadelphia YIMBY presents our skyline massings of the Virgin Hotel towers.

Virgin Towers massing. Models and image by Thomas Koloski

Virgin Towers massing. Models and image by Thomas Koloski

The towers will stand two blocks away from four projects developed by Dranoff Properties: Arthaus, Broad + Pine, Symphony House, and the Kimmel Center. The buildings will be located to the southwest of City Hall, in a prime spot for development, where multiple new projects extend the skyline further to the south. Located at the corner of Broad Street and South Street, the project will be easily accessible from the two major streets, with new alleys running through the block.

Virgin Towers aerial massing. Original image via Google Earth, models by Thomas Koloski

Virgin Towers aerial massing. Original image via Google Earth, models by Thomas Koloski

As stated in our previous publications of the project, the buildings will offer significant mass, although the still-unconfirmed heights are rather limited. With the shorter tower to the south and the taller tower to the north, the pair of buildings will make a pleasant stacking effect with the Symphony House, Arthaus, and the W/Element Hotel, forming a stepped inclination toward the north. When viewed from Broad Street, the buildings will dominate the city block and the Public Health Building will be preserved. When looking at the project in the skyline in the future, the towers will be noticeable mostly from southern views.

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15 Comments on "Philadelphia YIMBY Shares Skyline Massings of Two-Tower Virgin Hotel Proposed in Rittenhouse Square, Center City"

  1. Please stop referring to the 500 block of South Broad St as Rittenhouse Square.

    • Do you remember “Society Hill Pizza” right near the corner of Broad & South back in the day? Now THAT was a stretch! Haha

  2. I am a commercial real estate broker and have practiced in Center City for over 30 years. I enjoy the YIMBY newsletter as you provide quick updates on important developments. I recommend however that you be careful how far you stretch the name of a neighborhood, such as Rittenhouse Square. 500 S. Broad is not Rittenhouse Square, it’s South Broad. You discredit your site doing so. Thank you for your consideration.

    • Based on research, the neighborhood boundaries are not specifically set. The neighborhood is referred to on this article since Google Maps label’s it Rittenhouse Square, however you are still correct.

    • Vitali Ogorodnikov | May 27, 2022 at 10:12 am | Reply

      Thank you for the kind words, Todd. I see your point about Rittenhouse Square, and it’s hard to disagree with. However, as a real estate broker I’m sure you know better than just about anyone how fluid neighborhood definitions are, how challenging it can be to properly assign a a neighborhood to a development on a neighborhood fringe, and how adamant locals can be about how their understanding of what comprises a certain neighborhood is the only correct one, even if it directly clashes with the understanding of other locals.

      South Broad is one of the trickiest areas to define in Center City, as it’s definitely its own entity that is hard to lump together with neighborhoods either to the east or to the west of it. However, while accurately descriptive of the location, “South Broad” has hardly been an established neighborhood term (“I live on South Broad” is fine, while “I live in South Broad”… sorry, that isn’t really a thing). As such, for convention’s sake, we group South Broad buildings between City Hall and South Street east of the street with Market East, Midtown Village, and Washington Square West, and west of the street either with the business core or with Rittenhouse Square, which, despite an admitted awkwardness, aren’t incorrect definitions.

  3. John L Hemphill III | May 26, 2022 at 10:02 am | Reply

    Amazing how the Avenue of the Arts is developing.

    • Yes, developing for outsiders.

      • Outsiders? Everyone is, and should be, welcome here. Some of you lifelong crusties seem to forget this isn’t a walled medieval city.

        • Locals have no need to stay or visit a hotel, yet another one on this stretch of the street as well. It serves no purpose.

          • Vitali Ogorodnikov | May 27, 2022 at 10:06 am |

            Locals benefit from taxes generated by hotels and the money tourists and other visitors bring into the city’s economy.

          • Councilman Johnson | May 27, 2022 at 5:57 pm |

            Tourists will come whether you build hotels or not. If you don’t build hotels and there’s demand for hotel rooms, you will see houses and apartments converted to short term rentals via AirBNB. That in turn makes housing more expensive for locals. If you take some time to understand how the city works as a complex system, with different parts that interact with each other, it becomes easy to see how this proposal is beneficial for both locals and visitors.

  4. Plus Whole Foods?

  5. the buildings should be taller and sleeker

  6. Is 1826 Chestnut St. still a possibility of a development near Rittenhouse Square with a CVS

    • Ellen Kopeland | April 26, 2023 at 11:10 am | Reply

      Will CVS at 1826 Chestnut have a temporary location while the structure is
      under construction for the new tower?

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