Saturday, September 13, 2008

Market Street Office Corridor To Get Infusion Of Much Needed Pedestrian-Scaled Retail Development

The Comcast Center Effect, already paying dividends on 16th Street…

Good news out of Philadelphia’s Central Business District, i.e. the Market Street office corridor west of City Hall.
APF Properties, a New York real estate investor that owns 1601 Market St., has fashioned a plan that has the potential to alter the retail scene in the heart of the Central Business District.

APF has plans to build a two-story glass structure around a portion of 1601 Market, a 36-story, 600,000-square-foot office building, that will add 50,000 square feet of new retail space facing Market and 16th streets. Outdoor eateries and other spaces would also be created.
They’re looking at implementing the development in two phases, with the first phase to be complete by early 2010.
The plan goes to the heart of special services organization Center City District’s stated desire to see more retail and outdoor dining establishments along the West Market Street office corridor.

The organization believes those additions would help to create a better pedestrian experience and extend activity along Market Street beyond office hours, turning it into a nighttime destination.
Make no mistake about it — this is called "progress." And Comcast Center, located just around the corner from 1601, definitely led the way, having first given people a reason to make the trek north of Chestnut Street after 5 p.m with Table 31's Plaza Cafe.
The project aims to create an environment akin to the Avenue of the Americas in New York where a mix of office towers and retailer and pedestrian plazas meet.

The new space at 1601 Market will look to lure highest-end retailers and restaurants, said Larry Steinberg, a retail broker at Michael Salove Co. who is marketing the space.

“We’re looking to make a major retail impact on Market Street,” Steinberg said. For example, he’s in discussions with a restaurateur on a unique concept that would be an attraction like the ESPN Zone in New York. He also envisions stores in the vein of a Thomas Pink, a tony men’s clothing shop, and a cutting edge health club to be attracted to the space.

The Central Business District, which mostly has coffee and sandwich shops along with staid bank branches dotting the lower levels of office buildings, is ripe for this type of retail development, Steinberg said.
Good to see at least one existing Center City office property upgrading its offerings — "the other two parts of upgrading the [1601] property includes enhancing office tenant services used and pushing them to a top-rate level and making the building as environmentally friendly as possible" — instead of the knee-jerk complaining reaction that comes standard from most office property owners every time a new office building is proposed. Dicks.

Related:
Plan adds stores, restaurants to West Market [ Philadelphia Business Journal ]

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