In its nearly 30 year history of building in the Philadelphia area, Dranoff Properties has consistently displayed its gift of foresight when it comes to the development of derelict neighborhoods. Dranoff Properties sees the value in long-term investment, and realizes the importance of a developer having a vision not just for a property, but for a neighborhood and a community as well. It is this vision that allows Dranoff Properties to achieve the type of transformative results that often elude so many others. Below are just a few stories that illustrate what can be accomplished when a developer with the vision, capabilities and commitment sets its sights on true neighborhood transformation.
The Avenue of the Arts
The section of South Broad Street spanning from City Hall to Washington Avenue has for nearly 30 years been known as the Avenue of the Arts. Home to many of Philadelphia’s most prominent theaters and cultural venues, the Avenue was so named as part of a plan to develop the street into the premier arts, culture and entertainment destination in Philadelphia. For many years, however, development along the Avenue never stretched south of Spruce Street.
This changed in 1998 with the announcement by the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Orchestra that they planned to construct an innovative new regional performing arts center. One that would serve as a new home for the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as offer space for travelling performance groups and other local performers that did not possess a space of their own. Opened in 2001, and located just south of Spruce Street on the Avenue of the Arts, the iconic space was officially named the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts.
By 2004 the Avenue of the Arts was becoming the destination the city hoped it would, boasting the arts, dining, shopping and business. However it was still lacking in one area that would help to make the Avenue of the Arts truly dynamic: housing.
In the mid-2000’s Dranoff Properties saw an opportunity to be the first developer to tackle residential development along the Avenue. Its first property, aptly named Symphony House, was built on the underutilized site of a former parking lot. Unlike the glass-faced skyscrapers seen around the city, Symphony House’s striking art deco-inspired design reflects Philadelphia’s historic roots. In addition to 163 condominiums, the property houses 2 popular restaurants, a 367 space garage and the stunning 365 seat Suzanne Roberts Theatre. The development garnered immediate attention and interest for being the first ever ground up hi-rise condominium on the Avenue of the Arts. Completed in 2008, the property was awarded the title of “Nation’s Best High Rise Condominium” by Multifamily Executive Magazine.
Dranoff followed the success of Symphony House with the construction of 777 South Broad. Completed in 2010, the 146 unit luxury apartment building was the first LEED Silver certified residential property along the Avenue of the Arts, as well as the first ground-up residential housing to be built between South Street and Washington Avenue. The housing renaissance propelled by Dranoff Properties was solidified in 2014 with the completion of Southstar Lofts. The 85-unit luxury apartment building, constructed halfway between Symphony House and 777 South Broad on the site of a former derelict lot, created an anchor that joined two iconic Philadelphia destinations. Like 777 South Broad, Southstar Lofts was awarded LEED Silver certification in 2015.
The 2014 announcement of the ultra-modern SLS Lux Philadelphia Hotel & Residences marks the next step in Avenue development. Designed by renown architects Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, the 44 story glass tower will be situated at Broad and Spruce streets and will mark Dranoff’s first partnership with Los Angeles based hotelier SBE Entertainment Group. The development team is joined by celebrated French-born interior designer Philippe Starck, best known for his audacious and inventive style. Starck has worked globally for four decades, designing in a nearly endless list of cities, from Buenos Aires to Tokyo to Paris; and now Philadelphia.
The SLS Lux Philadelphia will contain 90 luxury condominiums, 150 hotel rooms, parking, prominent banquet and meeting facilities and a corner restaurant. When completed, the tower’s cutting edge design, light filled interiors and sleek amenities will stand out on Philadelphia’s skyline as the tallest ground-up residential building in Pennsylvania.
This past fall, Dranoff Properties announced its second partnership with SBE, The Hyde. Located at Broad and Pine Streets, the development will contain 83 modern apartments, 76 high-end hotel rooms as well as retail and green space.
With the completion of The Hyde, Dranoff Properties will have constructed over 560 residential units along the Avenue of the Arts, 314 apartments and 253 condos, as well as over 47,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, Dranoff Properties’ partnership with SBE Entertainment will have facilitated the development of 226 high-end hotel rooms along the Avenue.