City Trusts, bank, NJ investor back $40M+ AQ Rittenhouse tower

The AQ Rittenhouse tower will be "a 12story, 110-unit first class luxury mixed-use multi-family apartment building with street level retail/restaurant and lower level full floor institutional tenant," according to the web site of its developer, Aquinas Realty Partners. (Photo illustration from

Leonard S. Poncia, boss at Havertown-based Aquinas Realty Partners, was shoveling credit around liberally -- to Mayor Nutter, Councilmembers Darrell Clarke and Jannie Blackwell, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, the Center City Residents Association -- at the ceremonial groundbreaking for his 12-story, 110-apartment AQ Rittenhouse tower, 2021 Chestnut St., this morning. As new construction, the tower will enjoy city new-construction real estate tax breaks; no other public support has been awarded, so far, says Poncio.

The $40 million-plus tower is backed by, among others: equity investor Joel S. Brudner's and Christopher McCallion's MB1 Capital Partners, Wall, N.J., which is also backing projects in Brooklyn, Dallas, Bellmawr and Morristown; lenders, Santander Bank (the Spanish outfit formerly known locally as Sovereign) and the Board of City Trusts (headed by South Philly Democratic politician Robert Donatucci, the board oversees Wills Eye Hospital, Girard College and other city charities).

Builder is Clemens Construction Co., whose placards are all over Center City, and whose next projects include a Brown's ShopRite in the city's Mantua section near Drexel; one of the architects is BLTa's Michael Ytterberg, highrise-midrise designer to colleges and other institutions, who says his firm is good at filling the "infill" sites "that are mostly what you have to work with in Philadelphia"; architect of record is Peter Stampfl. Freire Charter School, based next door, was thanked for its cooperation and CCRA president Jeffrey Braff for his patience and support. CBRE | Fameco  seeks first-floor retail tenants to fill spaces up to 5,000 sq ft.