A recent site visit by Philly YIMBY has revealed that demolition has begun at the historic Columbia Theater at 2709 Cecil B. Moore Avenue in Cecil B. Moore, North Philadelphia. The 100-year-plus-old structure, situated at the north side of the block between North 27th and Marston streets, will be replaced by a four-story, 18-unit apartment building. Designed by Kore Design Architecture (KCA), the new development will span 21,030 square feet and feature elevator service, full sprinkling and a roof deck. Permits list Bloomtown Holdings LLC as the owner, GRIT Construction as the contractor, and a construction cost of $3.16 million. The Columbia Theatre, as it was originally known, was built in 1911 in a grand Beaux-Arts style. The massive, dramatic marquee and vertical sign that once adorned its front entrance are long gone. Still present, however, is the symmetrical facade with Palladian and oeil-de-boeuf windows, a garland-adorned crown, and a dentil course cornice. Even the elegant bishop’s crook light sconces continue to grace the structure at the second level. The roughly 30-foot-tall building is at once in scale with the avenue’s rowhouses and offers a distinct sense of urbane grandeur.
For nearly 35 years, the Philadelphia skyline has been dominated by skyscrapers rising well above 500 feet in height. The idea to breach of the height limit informally established by the 548-foot-tall pinnacle of City Hall, also known as the “Gentlemen’s Agreement,” surfaced in 1984. The first tower to rise above the limit was One Liberty Place, a daring structure for the time that rises 945 feet and 61 stories above ground at 1650 Market Street in Center City. The project was designed by Helmut Jahn of Murphy/Jahn and developed by Rouse and Associates (which eventually became Liberty Property Trust), and was completed in 1987. In this feature, Philadelphia YIMBY takes a look back at when One Liberty Place passed the statue of William Penn on top of City Hall.
As the calendar turns to December, Philadelphia YIMBY launches its annual December Development Countdown, which tracks the 31 tallest buildings under construction or proposed throughout the city. The inaugural 31st place goes to 222-30 Walnut Street in Society Hill, Center City, an adaptive reuse development that will integrate a proposed 242-foot-tall, 18-story condominium high-rise with a group of low-rise buildings constructed between 1856 and 1950. Designed by Cecil Baker + Partners Architects, the building will offer a combined total of 101,115 square feet of interior space, most of which will be dedicated to 18 residential condominiums. At the moment, the project appears at a standstill, which, in great part, results from its historically sensitive location in a historic district in one of the oldest sections of the city.
Construction is now fully complete at a two-building rental complex situated at 909 Corinthian Avenue in Fairmount (alternately Francisville), North Philadelphia. Developed by MM Partners, the project consists of The Corinthian, a renovated five-story, 110-year-old building, and la Cour, a newly-constructed, three-story, 14-unit building next door. Designed by Marshall Sabitini and built by Tester Construction, la Cour now appears fully complete, while The Corinthian sports a new logo emblazoned across its facade.