Philadelphia YIMBY’s recent site visit has noted that preparation for renovation and construction work has begun at the site of the 312-foot-tall, 25-story Freeman Condominiums at 1810 Chestnut Street in Rittenhouse Square, Center City. Designed by Cecil Baker + Partners, the project will renovate the six-story Samuel T. Freeman & Co. Auction House, built in 1923, with five floors of retail and commercial space facing the street, tenant amenities, and six stories of automated vehicle storage in the rear. The slender vertical addition will house 19 condominiums, most of which will be full-floor and bi-level units.
The development is located in close proximity to the Rittenhouse Square Historic District and the auction house itself has been reviewed for preservation by the Philadelphia Historic Commission, so the architects had to approach the already-challenging, narrow mid-block site with extra caution. The latest design is an update from the previous, shorter and broader vertical extension planned at the location, which would have held 25 residential units.
The revised plan’s taller, narrower tower is set further back from either of the street-facing facades, showing more deference to the historic exterior while providing more light for the units. The tower will rise upon new foundations that will be inserted into the old structure.
Development progress at the site is slow yet nevertheless noticeable. Since our last visit in August 2022, the lower level has been and fenced off and a project sign was added.
The Freeman Condominiums promises to be a fine example of dense yet sensitive urban development that adds a significant volume of commercial and residential space to a narrow, challenging site, without destroying an architecturally and historically notable structure that stands at the site. We look forward to further development on the project.