One thing you can say about Carl Dranoff’s taste in architecture is that it’s getting better.
On Wednesday, he held a lavish ground-breaking extravaganza for his latest, and smallest, apartment building on South Broad Street, aka, the Avenue of the Arts. SouthStar Lofts isn’t great design, but it’s not pink, either, like his first foray, Symphony House, by BLT Architects.
His new, 85-unit project is a straightforward, loft-style building and was designed by JKRoller Architects, the same firm that did Dranoff’s 777 Broad Street project. They’ve dropped the frou-frou, art deco flourishes this time in favor of clean lines and big windows. Although we still need to see the materials and detailing, the design shown in the renderings has also improved since its original iteration in 2011, when it was called Casa Verde. (see my review below) The best thing about the project may be the 10,000 square feet of retail that strongly anchors the South Street corner. The entrance is on Broad Street, at the northern end of the building, and the retail wraps around to South Street. If Dranoff is able to secure a strong tenant, this project could help tie together the two rebounding ends of South Street.
Read my 2011 column here.