Success Stories

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 Camden Waterfront

A Vision for New Jersey’s Next Hoboken

“The $60 million project is remarkable in many ways…The Victor is the most important project on the [Camden] waterfront…”

– The Wall Street Journal

Located directly across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Camden, New Jersey stood for decades as the state’s poorest city; its dwindling population and crumbling factories a national symbol of urban blight at its worst.

In 2001 however, Dranoff Properties had a vision for Camden; a vision of two cities building on each other’s strengths, united by their shared waterfronts. Hoboken to Philadelphia’s Manhattan; and Dranoff Properties knew exactly where to start.

As the former headquarters of the RCA Victor Talking Machine Company, Camden was home to the massive factories and buildings that made up the company’s sprawling complex. However, after its ultimate abandonment in the 1990’s, the complex quickly fell into disrepair. Building number 17, affectionately known as the “Nipper Building”, required a $6 million remediation to clean-up the site before construction could begin. But in fall 2002 Dranoff Properties began the long and challenging process of converting this historic landmark into 341 waterfront luxury apartments. Completed in 2004, the building was Camden’s first new market rate housing since the 1960’s.

Renamed The Victor Lofts, the newly renovated apartment building joined the Adventure Aquarium, Susquehanna Bank Center and Campbell’s Field as the latest landmark along the Camden Waterfront. The building’s overwhelming success in lease-up, demonstrated a clear demand for market-rate housing in Camden; a demand which helped spur the city’s most recent redevelopment projects. In fall 2015, a massive $1 billion waterfront redevelopment project was announced. Liberty Property Trust and its partners would be building an iconic waterfront development including retail, office space and residential.

In addition this new development will be joined by an influx of businesses relocating to the area, including the Philadelphia 76’ers, Cooper Hospital and Holtec International, among others, proving the value of Dranoff Properties decade old investment in this seemingly impossible vision.

Schuylkill Riverfront & Fitler Square

From “Needle Park” to America’s #1 Urban Trail

Dranoff Properties investment in the Philadelphia neighborhood known as Fitler Square began nearly three decades ago. At the time, the riverfront area was known by a very different nickname: “Needle Park”. In 1986, the tip of Locust Street at 25th Street was a derelict and abandoned manufacturing district along the Schuylkill River, but with its location and views it had enormous potential to be so much more.

Dranoff Properties CEO, Carl Dranoff, began the transformation of this neighborhood from blighted and abandoned factory district with his first project in the area, Locust Point. The development transformed an aged industrial warehouse into luxury rental apartments. Its opening – just as the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) were all making investments in University City – was met with incredible enthusiasm and was a catalyst to reposition the Schuylkill River as the river whose time had come.

This commitment to redefining the riverfront continued in 1998, with the redevelopment of the National Publishing Building into Locust on the Park, a 152-unit luxury loft apartment community on the edge of the Schuylkill River. Opened in 1999, these highly sought after residences proved that there existed a demand for new apartment construction for Center City’s expanding population.

The successful developments of both Locust Point and Locust on the Park helped to reinvigorate the long awaited Schuylkill River Park project, nearly 30 years in the making at the time. The project expanded public access to the riverfront and created additional waterfront green space. In the ensuing years the project made additional improvements, including the creation of two dog parks, a playground and a community garden. The rejuvenation of this waterfront district served to vastly increase the livability and desirability of the neighborhood.

Nearly 15 years later, Dranoff Properties is reinvigorating the Center City market once again, but this time it is the condominium market that is getting the boost. One Riverside, Center City’s first new skyscraper condominium development since the 2008 housing decline, is a sleek and gleaming 22 story tower. Designed by acclaimed architect Cecil Baker, the One Riverside condominiums boasts 68 luxury condominiums featuring stunning views in all directions. Located at the intersection of 25th and Locust Streets, One Riverside stands at the gateway to Fitler Square and Schuylkill River Park, a symbol of the astounding transformation that took nearly three decades and one iconic vision to achieve.

In 2015, with the opening of the Schuylkill River Boardwalk, Fitler Square and the Schuylkill River Park have achieved national recognition, now mentioned in conversations with the Chicago River waterfront, San Francisco’s Embarcadero and New York’s High Line. In 2015, Schuylkill River Trail was named USA Today’s Reader’s Choice Pick for Best Urban Trail in the country.

The Avenue of the Arts

Transforming a Street into a Destination

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 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 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.

Just recently, Dranoff Properties announced its newest condominium venture, located at Broad and Pine Streets. The 28 story development will contain 56 luxury condominium units and 92 underground parking spaces.

With the completion of the Broad and Pine development, Dranoff Properties will have constructed over 540 residential units along the Avenue of the Arts, 231 apartments and 309 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 156 high-end hotel rooms along the Avenue.