Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

State Office Building Conversion Moves Forward

Tower Investments Inc. took a step closer this morning to converting the State Office Building at Broad and Spring Garden streets into an apartment building with first-floor retail shops. City Council's Committee on Rules gave the OK for a zoning change that is expected to also get the nod next week from the City Planning Commission.

State Office Building Conversion Moves Forward

The State Office Building at Broad & Spring Garden streets.
The State Office Building at Broad & Spring Garden streets. Associated Press file photo

Tower Investments Inc. took a step closer this morning to converting the State Office Building at Broad and Spring Garden streets into an apartment building with first-floor retail shops.  City Council's Committee on Rules gave the OK for a zoning change that is expected to also get the nod next week from the City Planning Commission.

Developer Bart Blatstein told the committee the area, with the Philadelphia School District just to the south and the Community College of Philadelphia just to the west, is hurting for shopping areas.  "They is very, very little retail," he said. "North Philadelphia needs a huge amount of retail to service the community."

One thing the area isn't lacking is parking.  The building already has 127 underground spaces, a parking lot across the street and is served by a very busy Broad Street subway station.  Blatstein said car-sharing programs are also creating less need for parking.

Tower placed the winning bid in January, $25.2 million, to take over the 19-story building.  Blatstein said the conversion plan will take about 18 months from when the state finishes moving out.  He also plans to build another tower on the property closer to North 15th Street within five years.  The existing building will have about 290 apartments while the new building will have about 185 apartments.  Blatstein said an 800-square-foot apartment will rent for $1,200.

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Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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