Tuesday, September 1, 2015

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

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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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William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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