With Brandywine Realty Trust unloading their entire Exton portfolio in late July in a move that resulted in a gain of $9.9M, the group now has a bit more capital to undertake the construction of a mixed-use retail and residential development at 1919 Market St. next to the Blue Cross Blue Shield building. Originally, a twin to the aforementioned building, completed in 1991, was intended for this site as we explained several months ago, but legal wrangling killed the project before it got out of the ground.
Members of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) zoning committee have reported they are in early talks with attorneys for Brandywine Realty about a partnership with Blue Cross and a project at the long vacant lot, which served as a PHS Pop-Up Garden last year.
In April, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported Brandywine was in the process of finalizing plans for a 25-story residential tower with as many as 275 apartments, retail use and underground parking with a ground-breaking in the next 12 months. At a Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation roundtable last December, broker Michael Salove discussed this project, and mentioned that it could include four-to-five stories of retail.
Rainy photo of the site
This year’s annual State of Center City report produced by Center City Business District indicated taxes still dragged down a weak office sector in the district. With weak demand for office space, it makes sense that Brandywine is looking to residential and retail development at this site, even though it’s in the central business district. With several other residential projects going on in the immediate area, the significant retail aspect of this project could be a real boon for all the new residents nearby. Hopefully, another few hundred apartments as well as new shopping options in our central business district will make the area more desirable for office rentals as well in the future.