Sunday, November 02, 2008

Waldorf Astoria Headed To Philadelphia, To Bring City’s Grand Total Of 5-Star Hotels To, Um, Four

This just announced hotel/condo development is planned for the other half of the old Meridian Plaza site, the half not occupied by the brand new Residences at the Ritz Carlton.

Currently a surface parking lot, this southern parcel is owned by Mariner Properties, who already previously tried to do some high end condos there.

This time, they're adding a hotel to the mix. They’ve lined up the luxury Waldorf Astoria brand to anchor a $420 million, 58-story mixed-use development.
Standing at 670 feet tall, the 58-story Waldorf=Astoria Hotel and Residences Philadelphia will be the city's sixth-tallest building as well as its tallest mixed-use hotel and residential project. The classically contemporary granite and glass tower is to be designed by Cope Linder Architects of Philadelphia.

As a newly constructed property, the hotel will have a variety of opportunities to support a sustainable footprint.

A small sample of the many sustainable practices designed to be utilized in the project include: vegetative roof systems; one of the first U.S. hotel installations of an active chilled beam HVAC system; and an unprecedented degree of building automation through a unique venture with Johnson Controls, Inc., the world's leader in building automation technologies and building system integration.
The developers profess that sustainability is key to the project.
To ensure that the Waldorf=Astoria project meets the developers' high benchmark for sustainability while enhancing the luxury experience for residents and guests, the Mariner/Gatehouse development team retained Re:Vision Architects of Philadelphia, one of the leading LEED consultants in the country.

"We're convinced that being sustainable can enhance the guest experience and, surprisingly, we've found no shortage of extremely high-quality and innovative building products to use in this project from some of the most prominent and respected names in the industry," said Mahoney.
More like paying lip service to sustainability concerns. The project comes with a “350-car valet garage […] located on floors 2 through 8."

350 above-ground parking spaces? At 15th and Chestnut?? Effing ridiculous.

Especially because "residents will also have complimentary access to a small fleet of hybrid or electric vehicles for personal use."

So if that's the case, why all the additional parking?? Totally unnecessary.

Parking spots for the hotel and residences should be minimized. Including 300+ parking spots is fucking brain dead from an urban design/livable streets/sustainability perspective.

Meanwhile, the scene at street-level?
Retail space is planned for a 7,000-square-foot fine dining restaurant on Chestnut Street and a 2,140-square-foot retail boutique on the corner of 15th & Chestnut streets.
The hotel portion of the project will boast 175 rooms between floors 16-27, while there will be 136 residences starting at a cool $1 million on floors 28-58.

Overall, getting the Waldorf=Astoria here in Philadelphia would be great. We just wish the developer, Mariner, wasn't so strangely attached to always including terrible excessive parking.

Due to open in 2012.

Initial probability of that happening — 70%.

Related:
A Waldorf is planned for Center City [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
One of the First Grand Hotels Meets One of the Country's First Cities [ Press Release via Hotel Chatter ]

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