Rejoice, huddled Convention Center masses! South Street revitalizer/entrepreneur Keven Parker offers out-of-towners a peaceful alternative to cookie-cutter hotels with his new luxury suites.
Keven Parker, the restaurateur behind soul food destination Miss Tootsie's, has ventured into real estate with luxury suites now included under The Keven Parker Company umbrella. KDP Luxury Suites was recently unveiled at 1310 South Street, boasting three high-end apartments and a home decor boutique that complete the trinity of Parker's unique business initiative: to create a one-stop destination for dining, shopping, and sleeping.
Why the decision to break into real estate?
"After the expansion of the Convention Center, I recognized that there was a need for additional accommodations here in Philly. Since we're in such close proximity to the Avenue of the Arts, we're in the ideal spot."
Explain your vision for KDP Luxury Suites.
"I wanted to create a boutique hotel, a place where guests can avoid the hustle and bustle of your standard hotel experience. Everything is specialized to the individual. Think about shopping at a small boutique as opposed to shopping a department store on Black Friday. At the department store, it's hectic; everyone is running around. At the boutique, everything is catered to the individual; there's more attention, more time, more privacy. That's the comparison that I give people."
Besides the luxury of avoiding other Convention Center-goers at all costs, what perks do the suites offer?
"They're really like an apartment space, a home away from home. Each suite reflects a different aesthetic: urban, contemporary, and traditional. Long-term travelers will have their own private entrance and be able to cook their own pasta dish and wash their own clothes."
Are the suites decorated with items from the home decor boutique?
"Not exclusively, but our goal is to eventually be able to furnish each suite with items in the home store. For now, if a guest falls in love with a decor item from their suite, we can look to the store and try to source something similar for them."
How has the area changed since you first opened the doors to Miss Tootsie's?
"It's done a 360! There was nothing here 18 years ago; it was desolate. It was housing projects and abandoned lots overgrown with shrubbery, but now the block is thriving. There's a new coffeeshop on the corner, and an Italian restaurant is opening soon, too."
Did you ever had any doubts about the area?
"No, I never had any doubts. I always knew that eventually it would transition, but I never thought it would be to this degree where there are million dollar homes where there used to be projects."
How has the real estate venture differed from opening a restaurant ?
"It's very different, but the first thing you do for any business is identify a need. It's still a learning process and a little foreign to me but I have great mentors that have been teaching me along the way."