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  #21  
Old Posted Feb 28, 2009, 1:11 PM
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recent PBJ article

Friday, February 27, 2009
$420M Waldorf Astoria moving forward as planned
Philadelphia Business Journal - by Natalie Kostelni Staff Writer

In spite of the condo and overall residential market being in the tank, developer Tim Mahoney is forging ahead with a proposed $420 million Waldorf Astoria Hotel and Residences that will be constructed at 1441 Chestnut St. across from City Hall.

In a sign of confidence, the developer is even putting finishing touches on a glitzy model condominium that will replicate a unit in the high-rise where condos will start at $1 million and run up to $22 million for an 11,000-square-foot bilevel penthouse.

“We’re selling this into a 2012 and 2013 market,” said Mahoney, CEO of Mariner Commercial Properties Inc., the project’s developer. “If we deliver into an economy that looks like this, I think we’ve got bigger problems to worry about. We’re selling a piece of the future and hope.”

Mahoney, whose Mariner of Ardmore is working on the project along with local millionaire Brook J. Lenfest and Gatehouse Capital Corp. of Dallas, is also confident in the mixed-use hotel-condo concept even though the Ritz-Carlton is completing its residential tower next door and developers across the country overbuilt these type of projects in some cities. A supply issue shouldn’t be a problem by the time the building is completed and the Waldorf stands apart from the Ritz and other residential projects, Mahoney said.

Mahoney is prepping for the debut of the new luxury high-rise on the former Meridian Building site by investing millions into a 6,600-square-foot model that will also serve as a sales office.

The model is housed in space at 1518 Walnut St. where the Sharper Image once had a store and where Circa Restaurant and Nightclub formerly operated in what was originally a bank building constructed in 1929. The choice in the space, along Philadelphia’s most active and prominent retail addresses, was deliberate. The developer is “merchandising” the condos just as a retailer would a Louis Vuitton bag, Mahoney said.

“I want to create a sense of ‘I’ve got to have it,’” he said.

Mahoney wants shoppers along Walnut Street to see the model as they walk by, be intrigued and come in for a look-see. Once in there, they will be so wowed by the model and the “lifestyle” of living at a Waldorf, that they will plunk down a deposit on one of the 126 residences. The hotel will have 181 rooms.

“It’s risky,” Mahoney said. “But it’s highly visual and a very immersive experience. We want to give you a peek of what it would be like to live in the Waldorf Astoria.”

While the building was designed by Cope Linder Architects of Philadelphia, the model and sales space was designed by Frank Nicholson Inc. of Concord, Mass. An 8-foot-high, interactive architectural model of the condominium portion of the 58-story tower initially greets prospective buyers and gives them a literal translation of what the views would be like in each of the units. More convincing is the actual model, which, among other details, gives nighttime views of what it would be like in a condo on the 42nd-floor of the tower. And since the decorated model is decked out with marble floors, sci-fi electronics, a fully operational kitchen and gas fireplace, it gives buyers the feel of what it would be like to live there. Condos will run from floor 28 to 58.
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  #22  
Old Posted Feb 28, 2009, 7:32 PM
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Good news. It would be a coup to get a building like this, almost 700 feet, built in these economic times.
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  #23  
Old Posted Feb 28, 2009, 8:43 PM
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wonderful news!

i sure hope they dont get stuck with a crappy economy in 12 or 13 though.. theres no guarantees that it will get better.
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  #24  
Old Posted Mar 1, 2009, 5:58 PM
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Let's keep our fingers crossed! This would be a beautiful addition to the skyline.
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  #25  
Old Posted Mar 1, 2009, 7:00 PM
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I normally would be very excited....but I'm not even getting my hopes up in the least. With so many projects I've seen in Philly and LA that have tanked because of the economy...I've learned that if I don't get excited about it, at least I won't be disappointed.

But...I do hope it gets built.
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  #26  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2009, 5:31 PM
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Originally Posted by BigDan35 View Post
I normally would be very excited....but I'm not even getting my hopes up in the least. With so many projects I've seen in Philly and LA that have tanked because of the economy...I've learned that if I don't get excited about it, at least I won't be disappointed.

But...I do hope it gets built.
I totally agree.
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  #27  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2009, 6:21 PM
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This is a smart design.

The rooftop garden looks promising.

At last, a real skyscraper near Broad Street.

It seems that Market Street and JFK Boulevard have dominated the skyline.

When will Broad Street begin to host some real skyscrapers?
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  #28  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2009, 6:36 PM
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Originally Posted by fish View Post
When will Broad Street begin to host some real skyscrapers?
Maybe when they demolish some of the existing historic buildings that currently line the street in the CBD. Where would you suggest?

I assume you have been to Broad Street? Your question seems to indicate otherwise.
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  #29  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2009, 6:40 PM
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fish, this skyscraper is being built on a lot to the immediate south of the Residences of the Ritz and right next door to the Girard Trust Tower; it's being built in proximity to the other City Hall-surrounding skyscrapers, near both Market and Broad.

Broad St. is our city's older core; the more low-slung neoclassical and Art Deco buildings are part of its charm. In older photos of Philadelphia, the center of development is along this stretch of Broad, the so-called Avenue of the Arts.
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  #30  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2009, 7:53 PM
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Broad Street skyscrapers could be a reality. Keep in mind, Dranoff is still planning his Symphony II project which was listed at 50 stories at Broad & Spruce streets.
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  #31  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2009, 9:18 PM
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Deposits

I noticed there was no mention of a starting date. My guess is that their bankers probably told them to sell some
units prior to funding.

Mahoney has sunk a lot of bucks into that site, and I don't think the parking lot is covering the nut. With that said, I
think these guys are for real, and determined to build.

This building will be a nice addition to the skyline. RATR was also nice but it could of used a little extra height.
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  #32  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2009, 10:07 PM
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This building will be a great compliment to RATR. It will be nice to go down Chestnut and not see a parking lot here.
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  #33  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2009, 2:25 AM
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This building is so damn beautiful. Their website has a new pic up in their collage animation. God I hope this thing gets built.
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  #34  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2009, 2:48 AM
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I'm still not impressed...I'll have to see more pics before I make a final judgment tho...its just too...80s.
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  #35  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2009, 5:21 AM
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not impressed? ohhh, i think its one of the most beautiful towers being proposed or UC in the world, i love this building, it reminds me of chiefly tower in Sydney (sp?), which is also one of my favorite buidlings.. the ratio of concrete to glass is classy and perfect, its base is high scale and interacts well with the street, its my dream building lol.

haha, im not saying your wrong man, everyone has their opinion, and it may look 80's, i just like it alot of course you have a point, it can always be better i suppose
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  #36  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2009, 4:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plompy Lfeata View Post
not impressed? ohhh, i think its one of the most beautiful towers being proposed or UC in the world, i love this building, it reminds me of chiefly tower in Sydney (sp?), which is also one of my favorite buidlings.. the ratio of concrete to glass is classy and perfect, its base is high scale and interacts well with the street, its my dream building lol.

haha, im not saying your wrong man, everyone has their opinion, and it may look 80's, i just like it alot of course you have a point, it can always be better i suppose
well the thing is i don't feel like I've actually seen a legitimate "tower view" render of this thing. Its always from street level looking up or some weird angle. I think I'd be able to have a more concrete opinion if they just put out renders like everyone else does.
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  #37  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2009, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cro Burnham View Post
Maybe when they demolish some of the existing historic buildings that currently line the street in the CBD. Where would you suggest?

I assume you have been to Broad Street? Your question seems to indicate otherwise.
Of course!

I would compliment S. Broad Street with Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan with it's classical towers lining the avenue.

I would love to see something awe inspiring.

Philly just seems like there is only one designated skyscraper strip.

I am in favor of further development across the river near the Post Office.

The Cira Centre looks like a step in the right direction for the city.

I also champion the ideas of towers along the east side with the St. James leading the way.

Other promising areas I would love to see further development on are Spring Garden Street area, more mixed-use on Walnut/Locust Streets would be splended.

You could stretch further south towards South Street and space the high rise towers enough to offer views from every window.

Penn's Landing has potential along the Delaware while we await the Trump Tower for approval.

There is so much potential, I am more than certain that Mayor Nutter would be more than eager to support this agenda. He is a man of vision.
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  #38  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2009, 4:36 AM
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For those of you who haven't seen them, here are the current renderings on the W=A website as of 3/4/09:

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  #39  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2009, 5:48 AM
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For those of you who haven't seen them, here are the current renderings on the W=A website as of 3/4/09:

Like I said...weird angles...
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  #40  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2009, 3:12 PM
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Originally Posted by fish View Post
When will Broad Street begin to host some real skyscrapers?
I know the Gentlemens agreement was broken in the early 80's, but I still think the City (and myself) want City Hall to be the dominate fixture up and down Broad. The tallest masonry building in the world shouldnt have any modern Supertalls near it (in my opinion).

With that being said......its ashame one of these beautiful towers (Ritz and Waldorf) isnt being built at the 8th and Market black hole. That is one major gap in the Skyline that is in desperate need of a 700+ footer.
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