As promised, we visited 10 Rittenhouse recently to get a sense of how things are going now that iStar Financial has resumed control and ownership of the Robert A.M. Stern-designed/ArcWheeler-developed Center City high-rise. Dranoff Properties is doing sales and marketing for the building, so we got a tour from Melissa Wyatt, director of marketing and public relations for Dranoff. We took a peek into several apartments: a three-bedroom and a couple two-bedrooms (both pictured above), and a studio and one-bedroom that are brand new.
Let's look at the one-bedroom first, which hasn't been shown before. Click on the little magnifying glass to take a closer look.
We love that wallpaper in the bathroom; most of the model apartments were staged by Builders Design in Maryland. The one-bedroom apartments range from $565,000 to $695,000.
Now on to the studio apartments, which range from $375,000 to $399,000. The dishwasher and subzero fridge have cabinetry facades, so that helps provide an illusion of more space.
There are five of these studios left. Wyatt says people who live on the Main Line or in South Jersey sometimes buy them so they can have a place in town for weekend excursions. Do the two groups mingle? We didn't ask because we already know the answer.
Right now, the building is at 45 percent occupancy. When Dranoff originally took receivership, there was no rhyme or reason to the pricing structure, and no real marketing plan. Now every apartment price has a rationale—higher floor, better view. There are new brochures, a new website in process and a structured approach to cultivating the community around the building—like working closely with the all-powerful Friends of Rittenhouse Square. (Good idea, that.) On March 7, brokers are coming in for a large event to see the space. "Broker confidence is returning," says Wyatt.
Improvements are still being made: The interior courtyard, which is now a fairly barren expanse of concrete, is being transformed into a lush communal space. The adjoining group exercise room will be refashioned as an event space. The fitness club is getting a redo to increase the number of torture devices. There may even be a retooling of the concierge service to make it more hotel-like. For now, residents are "stuck with" valet parking, Mercedes car service, 24-hour doormen and a saline pool to float around in, Dead Sea-style.
A few days ago, a permit was granted so that the old building called the Rittenhouse Club—the original structure on the Square that shares space with Barney's—can now be developed either as commercial or residential. It's raw vacant space right now, and if you or a retailer you know has $15 million, it's all yours.
Finally, in case you're wondering (as we always do) which books are considered sufficiently noncontroversial for staging, here are the ones we saw: The Help, a book on Stern, Skylines by Bill Price and The King by Jim Piazza. That last one is about Elvis, and the first one, well, I suppose the people who find it controversial won't be buying at 10 Rittenhouse anyway.
So what are your thoughts, Curbed readers? Let us know in the comments.