Vacant field amid Center City towers 'eliminates the opposition'

The site at 1919 Market St. as it looked last July when BartonPartners submitted its plans for the proposed high rise. (Photo from

In 2011, Brandywine Property Trust bought 1919 Market Street -- "one of the central business district's most desirable development sites," as Timothy B. Monahan of office tenant rep Savills Studley puts it in a new report, "Philadelphia's Trophy Office Market." Once slated for high-rise offices, later for housing, after 3+ years with Brandywine, it's still a fenced, grassy field, amidst the city's busiest office canyon, two blocks from bustling Rittenhouse Square.

Which is smart -- from the landlord's point of view, Monahan adds: "This purchase allows Brandywine to control another key place on the board and eliminates the opposition from seeking to develop competing office space along this key office corridor. This should add value and vitality to (Brandywine's office) buildings across the street at 1900 Market and Commerce Square." Monahan notes that Brandywine's nearby University City properties at 3020 Market St., the former Post Office, FMC Tower and Cira Center cement the Radnor-based landlord's "dominance in the Philadelphia real estate Monopoly board."

What does Brandywine have planned for 1919 Market, eventually? In June 2012 Brandywine proposed a 292-unit apartment high-rise, plus 55,000 sq. ft. of stores, with backing from neighbor Independence Blue Cross. With apartment towers blooming across central Philadelphia, and more planned, this one hasn't started yet. "A residential project is still planned with an anticipated commencement for fall 2014," Brandywine spokeswoman Marge Bocciuti assures me.

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