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  #41  
Old Posted May 27, 2005, 4:34 PM
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Looks like another possible highrise...

Developers Offer Plans for Wilmington Property

WILMINGTON -- Two developers Thursday outlined their competing plans for new high-end condominiums in the Midtown-Brandywine neighborhood. McConnell Johnson Real Estate Co. of Wilmington wants to build a 20-story building with 70 units that would sell for at least $350,000 each. Midtown Development of Baltimore wants to build a 10-story building with 46 units that would sell for around $550,000 each. The site for the condos is 1400 N. Washington St., where the Red Clay Consolidated School District's former administration building sits. Christiana Care currently owns and uses the building. Christiana Care bought the property from the city five years ago. The terms of the deal allow Brandywine Gateway Neighbors, a nonprofit housing group, to purchase the property for about $2 million by July 1. McConnell Johnson would offer $2.5 million to Brandywine Gateway Neighbors. Midtown Development would offer $3 million. Several of the residents at the meeting at First Presbyterian Church expressed concerns about the new building causing traffic and parking congestion in their neighborhood.

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Will people ever not complain about traffic?

This site is directly across Washington Street from Wilmington Hospital.



Sorry, but I don't have a good shot of the site. The building would be just to the left of the tan building on the left (behind where the clump of trees is). It's a nice site, I've always thought there would be alot of development potential since it overlooks Brandywine Park and the river.
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  #42  
Old Posted May 28, 2005, 10:46 PM
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Proposals cause uproar in Wilmington

Residents Cringe at Possible Sale of Christiana Care Facility

By ADAM TAYLOR / The News Journal
05/28/2005

They would rather have the property at 1400 N. Washington St. stay as it is. Christiana Care operates the only full-service facility for AIDS patients in Delaware in a four-story, brick building there.

But the residents might not have that choice.

A nonprofit housing group, Brandywine Gateway Neighbors, has the right to buy the property from the hospital in July. The group will likely do so and then sell the property to one of two developers who would tear down the building and construct expensive condominiums in its place.

Some residents fear the condominiums would increase traffic congestion and reduce the amount of off-street parking spaces already at a premium in the neighborhood, which is nestled near high-rise office buildings at the downtown's edge.

Others say Brandywine Gateway Neighbors is acting like a for-profit real estate speculator in the deal, a charge the group's leaders deny. The group should be looking at a project that is less intrusive to the neighborhood, as it has been doing for more than 20 years, residents said.

"This is a money grab," resident Bob Goff said.

Brandywine Gateway Neighbors Co-Executive Director Sirena Turner said the high-end condominiums -- some of which would sell for more than $500,000 -- are the best use for the property. She said the profit the group would make by selling the property isn't the driving force behind the proposed sale.

Kym Liebler, a board member of the group, said she envisions a compromise before the details are finalized.

"This will be a negotiated development between us and the residents," she said. "Brandywine Gateway Neighbors is going to have to accept less money, and the residents are going to have to accept a larger building than they want."

The existing structure used to be the Red Clay Consolidated School District's administration building. The city bought it in 2000 for $1.3 million, at a time when Christiana Care's Wilmington Hospital had a short-term space crunch and Brandywine Gateway Neighbors had a long-term vision for the area. The vision included more residential units on Washington Street.

So the city tried to help both parties. It immediately sold the property to Christiana Care, with a clause in the agreement that allowed Brandywine Gateway Neighbors to buy it in July 2005.

Christiana Care spokesman Bill Schmitt said the hospital understands that it will lose the facility if Brandywine Gateway Neighbors exercises its right to buy the property, but would like to stay.

About 750 AIDS patients are served there, and Wilmington has one of the highest AIDS rates in the country. Schmitt said there is no room for the patients at the hospital's main facility across the street.

"We'll honor our commitments, but leaving the facility would be highly problematic for us, and we're gravely concerned about it," he said.

Millions of Dollars at Stake

Resident Liza Clapham, who lives near the site, asked the Brandywine Gateway Neighbors board to extend its July 5 deadline for opting to buy the property.

"I'd like them to consider allowing the hospital to keep it," she said. "I don't want a huge condominium near me, and I like the idea of having an AIDS clinic there providing a valuable service to the community."

The Brandywine Gateway Neighbors board will vote next month on whether it will buy the property. Liebler said she expects the board will make the purchase. And if it does, Turner said a large building will go there.

McConnell Johnson Real Estate Company, of Wilmington, wants to build a 20-story building with 70 units that would sell for at least $350,000 each.

Midtown Development, of Baltimore, wants to build a 10-story building with 46 units that would sell for around $550,000 each.

Brandywine Gateway Neighbors would purchase the property for about $2 million. McConnell Johnson would offer $2.5 million to buy it. Midtown Development would offer $3 million.

End of Urban Development Grants

Goff and other residents said they believe the group wants to make a profit because it is close to losing what has been its main money source for nearly a quarter-century.

Brandywine Gateway Neighbors has received $300,000 a year since the early 1980s from the city-run Wilmington Urban Development Action Grant Corp., corporation board President Richard V. Pryor said.

The annual payments to the group will end in 2007 or 2008, he said.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development launched its Urban Development Action Grant program in 1978. It was designed to help aging cities attract big companies.

Many of Wilmington's older high-rise office buildings were built with the grants and loans given out by the program. Wilmington and companies in the city received 13 grants and loans worth $40.7 million over seven years.

The federal government ended the program in 1988, but the agencies in Wilmington and other cities formed to handle the loans stayed in existence as the repayments continued to come in.

The repayments were used to pay for other neighborhood initiatives, one of which was the 25-year contractual obligation to Brandywine Gateway Neighbors. The group has used the money to build more than 50 houses in Midtown-Brandywine, Brandywine Village and parts of the East Side and the old Ninth Ward.

Moving Head

While the community still has a chance to talk the group's board out of buying the property, that prospect seems unlikely.

"There will be lots of discussion, but everyone is going to have to be honest," Liebler said. "I really think this is just progress. I think this type of housing is good for the neighborhood and good for the whole city."

But resident Herrell said progress could take place in the form of a smaller condominium building.

"Something not as massive," he said.

"If you go put something like what is planned there, everybody's petrified about what is going to happen."

--------------------

Imagine, a high rise residential building a block from downtown. I can see why people are so upset.

Hopefully McConnell can steamroll these jackasses.
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  #43  
Old Posted May 29, 2005, 12:10 AM
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Lots of stuff going on in Wilmington! I love that "mini-Cira Centre" Building. That't be a great addition to the city.

Wilmington is so cool. lol
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  #44  
Old Posted May 29, 2005, 9:03 PM
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I hate these idiots who like to stop progress.

I can't believe they would rather have a parking lot than something that would strengthen the neighborhood's character.

Not like they when they moved in it wasn't a city. It's been a city for 300 years, and you should know that when you move in a city or live there, it's gonna grow. ESPECIALLY on the 95 corridor in the NE United States.

Damn that pisses me off.
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  #45  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2005, 8:48 PM
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Hey, check out today's banner image at SSC. A pleasant surprise...
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  #46  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2005, 10:43 PM
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^Yeah, I saw it. Looks ok, just a little grainy. It's too bad those threads are so weak. Maybe Joe can convince some of the Delaware guys over there to come over here?

You ought to stop in more often Volguus.
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  #47  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2005, 12:04 AM
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Some SSC dude named Matt (not mglan) took that picture. He's a good guy, but he manages to take the poorest views of the city he can. He needs to be schooled.

Unfortunately, most SSC people don't know their facts enough, and try to have arguments w/o legitimately backing them up.

I understand why Sasso has had like 3 posts on SSC since 2002.
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  #48  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2005, 10:05 PM
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WSFS is moving in and naming the building after itself (maybe I'll be close to a window).

15-Story Office Tower Planned for Downtown Wilmington

By MAUREEN MILFORD / The News Journal
06/09/2005


Wilmington real estate developer Buccini/Pollin Group said today it will build a $90 million, 15-story office tower on Delaware Avenue in downtown Wilmington that promises to transform the gateway to the city from I-95.

WSFS Bank, which owns the land, will be a lead tenant in the tower, and the building will be named WSFS Bank Center. WSFS will move its corporate offices to the new building.

Construction on the 350,000-square-foot tower on Delaware Avenue at Washington and Jefferson streets is expected to begin July 1, with a completion date set for November 2006, said Christopher F. Buccini, partner in Buccini/Pollin Group. The land, which is a full city block, is now being used as a parking lot. The bank, which has a minority interest in the building, will lease 60,000 square feet in the new building.

Once the new building is completed, Buccini/Pollin will buy the bank’s existing five-story headquarters building at Ninth and North Market streets. Buccini said the plan is to convert the 1920 neoclassical structure for retail and residential use. WSFS will keep a branch in the building.

Besides WSFS, the law firm of Morris, James, Hitchens & Williams in Wilmington also has agreed to take 60,000 square feet in the new tower, Buccini said.

In addition, the U.S. Postal Service is negotiating to take space in the building, said John Rago, communications director to Mayor James M. Baker. The post office is now in the Wilmington Trust Center on Rodney Square. Wilmington Trust has said it will not renew its lease with the post office.

-------------

Sucks the building has been reduced by three floors, though.

That's interesting about the post office moving. I think it'll be a little tight in the garage for all the truck parking and transfer operations.
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  #49  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2005, 11:07 AM
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WSFS Plans New Headquarters

Bank will be joined by law firm in $90 million downtown building

By MAUREEN MILFORD / The News Journal
06/10/2005


WSFS Bank will relocate its corporate headquarters from a historic building on North Market Street in downtown Wilmington to a new $90 million glass office tower at Delaware Avenue and Washington Street.

The 15-story WSFS Bank Center will be the first multitenant office tower in the Rodney Square area since the late 1980s, and promises to transform the gateway to the city from I-95. The announcement was made Thursday.

The bank will be a major tenant, as well as a minority owner, in the 350,000-square-foot building, which is being developed by Wilmington real estate developer Buccini/Pollin Group Inc. on land owned by the bank. Besides WSFS, the law firm of Morris, James, Hitchens & Williams has committed to space, and city officials say negotiations are under way with the U.S. Postal Service for a full-service post office.

As part of the deal with WSFS, Buccini/Pollin has agreed to buy the bank's existing five-story headquarters building on the corner of Ninth and North Market streets. The bank would not disclose the price. The developer plans to convert the 1920 neoclassical structure into retail and residential space once the new tower is completed and WSFS is relocated. Christopher F. Buccini, partner in Buccini/Pollin Group, said it's too early to put a value on the renovation project or provide other details.

"This is a very exciting and productive project covering multiple fronts that will benefit the city of Wilmington," Mayor James M. Baker said in a statement.

Downtown workers and shop owners also praised the project Thursday, saying it will help keep businesses and jobs in the central business district.

"It's great to see businesses staying downtown instead of flowing out or going down to the Riverfront," said Joseph W. Urban, owner of Talkin' Turkey Café at Ninth and Shipley streets.

For Michael Jolly, a carpenter from Wilmington, it means more work for the building trades.

"As long as you keep people working, it's good," Jolly said.

Buccini/Pollin has been one of the most active developers in New Castle County since it bought the Nemours and Brandywine buildings in downtown Wilmington from the DuPont Co. in 1999. The company renovated both buildings for offices, retail and some residential space. In 2002, Buccini/Pollin began converting the historic Delaware Trust Co. building on North Market Street into luxury apartments. That building, now called the Residences at Rodney Square, is next door to the existing WSFS headquarters

The developer is now building the $125 million Christina Landing residential project, which includes town houses and two residential towers, on the south side of the Christina River.

A Growing Company

Mark A. Turner, chief operating officer of WSFS Bank, said the bank's move is necessary because of its strong growth in recent years. Over the past three years, commercial loans have grown by 27 percent a year, and deposits rose by 22 percent from March 2004 to March 2005. What's more, the number of employees has grown by 15 percent in the past two years to 500 people. The bank, the principal subsidiary of WSFS Financial Corp., now has 24 branches.

"We plan to continue to grow, adding two to three branches a year for the foreseeable future," Turner said.

WSFS will move its executive offices, finance, marketing, audit, human resources, the bulk of its commercial lending team and some operations into 60,000 square feet in the new building.

Although MBNA Corp. constructed a complex of buildings on Rodney Square in the 1990s and AAA Mid-Atlantic recently built a new headquarters on the Christina River waterfront, the WSFS Bank Center will be the first office tower in the heart of the downtown business district in more than a decade.

The time is right for a new building, Buccini said. Wilmington's office market has been on fire, with downtown leasing activity at a 20-year high in 2004. Activity was 69 percent higher last year than the 20-year average, according to Jackson Cross Partners, a corporate real estate services firm in Wilmington.

The vacancy rate for top-of-the-line office space in the city dropped to about 9.2 percent at the beginning of the year. Anything less than 10 percent is approaching a tight market.

Although WSFS plans to sell its longtime headquarters, it will keep a branch there. It will also have a branch in the new tower.

The lobby of the existing WSFS building is noted for its large wall mural, called the "Apotheosis of the Family," which was painted in 1932 by Brandywine Valley artist N.C. Wyeth for the bank's 100th anniversary. The mural, valued in the millions, will stay in the building, Turner said. Buccini/Pollin plans to keep and preserve the piece.

A Slender Glass Tower

Construction on the new tower is expected to begin July 1 and be completed by November 2006, Buccini said. The architect is Gensler of San Francisco, which also designed ING Direct's Internet cafes in New York City and Los Angeles. Buccini said the contemporary design calls for the building to have a 230-foot glass front facing Delaware Avenue. There also will be a public plaza in front of the building. To the rear of the building a 550-space parking garage is planned.

"It's a slender glass tower with an elegant profile," said Peter Stubb, the Gensler architect in Baltimore who designed the building. "It's got a gently curved facade facing Delaware Avenue that kind of brings people into the city, directs them downtown."

Calvert A. Morgan Jr., a WSFS director and special adviser to the bank, said the Delaware Avenue office tower has been in the works for nearly a year. Buccini said the building is close to 40 percent preleased.

Earlier this year, Morris, James, Hitchens & Williams agreed to take between 40,000 and 60,000 square feet in the tower. The law firm's lease in its current location in the PNC Bank Center at 222 Delaware Ave. does not expire until October 2006.

The Postal Service, which is negotiating to take space in the building, is now in the Wilmington Trust Center on Rodney Square. Wilmington Trust has said it will not renew its lease with the post office. Sen. Tom Carper's office said Thursday a deal has been negotiated that will allow the post office to remain in the Rodney Square location until November 2006.

Wilmington Trust spokesman Bill Benintende confirmed the lease extension, and said it is based on the provision that the post office signs a lease for a new location.

-------------------------------

The current building at 9th and Market, built in 1929.



The new building at Delaware Avenue and Washington Street. The article mentions 360,000 s.f., but I've always heard 260,000 s.f., and this is with the building reduced by three floors. I don't know.

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  #50  
Old Posted Jun 11, 2005, 11:08 PM
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Ehh It looks like 80m What is your estimate on what Christina Landing turned out to be, MGlan?

Ren Cent got upped by 3 stories
WSFS got downed by 3 stories.
2 Christina Cent. Got downed by 3 stories
yet the River tower got upped by like 15.

They don't know which way to go.
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  #51  
Old Posted Jun 11, 2005, 11:49 PM
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up by 15 stories is always good.

up the Comcast Center by 15 stories! I'd be a happy PhantomsPhan/FlyersFan if they did.

1170 ft.
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  #52  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2005, 3:42 AM
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Heh... I'd be happier if that building was repositioned. Just my opinion.
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  #53  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2005, 9:29 PM
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I'm just guessing, but I'd say 90 meters on the River Tower.
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  #54  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2005, 4:16 PM
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Another proposal for Wilmington. This is west of downtown in the very wealthy Rockford Park neighborhood. This area is ripe for this type of development, and from looking at the company's website, their projects look decent.

The story....

Condos Planned for Former Bancroft Mills Site
Pa. Developer Wants 1,000 Units


By ADAM TAYLOR / The News Journal
06/18/2005


WILMINGTON -- A King of Prussia, Pa., developer plans to build about 1,000 expensive condominiums at the former Bancroft Mills site along the Brandywine near the Delaware Art Museum.

O'Neill Properties would demolish at least 40 of the old mill buildings to make way for 19 mid-rise condo buildings and 1,847 parking spaces, said Wilmington lawyer Lisa B. Goodman, who represents the developers.

The new development, called Rockford Falls, is the biggest residential project on the drawing board in Wilmington, city officials said. Nearby resident Rob Stenta said he is worried that the size of the project would hurt the neighborhood.

"I am concerned that 999 condominiums on this property would generate traffic and access issues that would substantially change the character of our community," he said.

Goodman said the developers are willing to consider building fewer condos to appease the neighbors. O'Neill officials have appointed Stenta and 47 others to a committee that could negotiate a compromise.

"I fully expect the plan will change in a significant way due to the committee's input," Goodman said.

O'Neill bought the 21-acre site for $7.4 million last year.

No zoning changes are required for the project to proceed, but the plan will be subject to a review by city officials before it gets the go-ahead. The developers also need to work out issues regarding access roads into and out of the property. Goodman said the company is negotiating about access roads with property owners at both ends of the site.

The buildings are contaminated with caustic soda products, dyes, asbestos and a variety of metals, Goodman said. Cleanup and subsequent demolition would begin at the end of this year and take about a year to complete. Goodman estimated the cleanup would cost about $10 million.

The actual construction of the condos would take place in phases over the next several years, Goodman said.

Condo prices would range from $250,000 for a one-bedroom unit to as much as $2 million for a penthouse suite.

O'Neill submitted a preliminary development plan to the city last week. City Planning Director Peter Besecker said the city will reply to the company's submission in about a week.

"We'll just tell them what we think they need to do in terms of work regarding access, utilities and drainage," he said.

Officials from the Brandywine Conservancy's Environmental Management Center have been monitoring the project to see if the plans might harm the river.

"We're not saying this project will do that, but we have concerns for anything that has the potential to do that," spokesman Halsey Spruance said.

Goodman said the development will have the opposite effect. She said the Northern Delaware Greenway will run through the site.

"This is a part of the river that no one had access to and we're going to open it up," she said. "We're also cleaning up a significantly contaminated abandoned industrial site and putting it back on the active tax rolls."

-------------------

With 19 buildings proposed, I'd say these are going to be three to four story buildings. Not going to add to the skyline, but the addition of 1,500 to 2,000 well off people to Wilmington is good news.
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  #55  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2005, 3:09 AM
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I'm anxious to see about that condo tower on Del. Ave

Anybody have an info on whether that lot was ever sold, or is it yet to come?
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  #56  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2005, 10:21 PM
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You mean the one on Washington Street? The site was sold to Brandywine Gateway Neighbors, and they are in negotiations with the developers out of Baltimore, Midtown something (the 10-story proposal).

There was an article about the sale a few days ago. The article didn't mention that negotiations were ongoing with McConnell Johnson (the 20-story proposal). Midtown was offering $500,000 more than McConnell, so I guess they didn't want to hear from them.

Then again, it was the News Journal that was reporting, and they definately aren't the best at getting facts straight with regards to real estate development.
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Old Posted Jul 12, 2005, 1:18 AM
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Delle Donne & Associates is moving to begin construction on a six story, 150,000 sq. ft. expansion of the existing office building and garage at 800 Delaware Avenue. The building was already put out to bid and I'm pretty sure that EDiS construction will be the GC.

I'm disappointed that the garage won't be clad with anything, since its bare and obvious facade really doesn't do much for the building.

The only large undeveloped parcel left in downtown is the large parking lot in the foreground. But with the MBNA-Bank of America merger, and other large office projects in the works, I don't think anything will be put on it for another 10 years. But maybe residential...

Edit: I don't think I'll add this one to the rundown on the first page, since it is really just a six story building on a parking garage (and the complex is really already built).

Double Edit: Some catching up on the other projects around town: the Juniper HQ is graded and the pile driver is sinking 'em for the garage. I think this one is going to be a fast one like AAA.

The surface lot for the WSFS Bank Center building is being slowly stripped. Hopefully they'll rip out that billboard and get things going before the end of July.
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  #58  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2005, 11:05 PM
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How exactly did you find out about the extension of the ING building on Del. Ave? I didn't know about that at all... then again a 6-story building isn't a newsmaker - but nevertheless some form of city development.

The Riverfront is really lit up nowadays with the AAA Building's mega-illuminated windows and red insignia.

I also noticed that Citizens Bank has recently attached an Illuminated logo on one of the buildings around Rodney Square. You can see it lit from about 4 miles away on 495/95.

I hated the sides of Christina Landing until they literally touched the top of the building with the blue reflective glass. Once the side was pretty much finished I have to say it is quite an attractive building. Can't wait for the 25-story one.
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Old Posted Jul 18, 2005, 1:07 AM
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Being in the Commercial Real Estate department, I get a lot of information.

Oh, it's not the ING building (802 Delaware Ave.), it's 800 Delaware Ave. 800 is a pretty good Class A building, although the lobby is early 1990's contemporary.

I have to agree with you on AAA, it looks very nice from 95. I'm anxious to see Christina Landing lit up with the finish interior lights instead of the construction lights. I'll probably take a walk down there tomorrow and take some shots. The one side of the Market Street bridge is now finished and has the new handrail lights. I'd love to get a night pano shot from the roof of one of those townhomes (or 95 if you can think of a safe and legal way to do it).

I saw them putting up the new Citizens sign a few weeks ago. It definately adds to that blank section at the top of the building. Too bad WSFS won't be putting up our letters on the new building.

The crew for the Renaissance Center has been dragging their asses on clearing the rubble from the few buildings on 4th. I was hoping to see some piles or foundation work by now.
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Old Posted Jul 18, 2005, 1:31 AM
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wow, look what thread has returned?
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