Have you ever been walking along the expansive Independence Mall area and said to yourself, damn, there just isn't anywhere to grab an internationally renown cup of coffee while I take in all of this historical stuff. Well, that's all about to change. La Colombe announced it will open a new location in the 100 Independence Mall West (Dow Chemical/Rohm & Haas) at 6th and Market. If you're keeping score at home, the building now boasts 400,000 square-feet of Class A office space (leased to Dow and GSA), a new parking garage, the popular Independence Beer Garden and, soon, a 1,700 square-foot La Colombe outpost with outdoor seating.
It's all part of a larger $20M "reinvestment strategy" between Keystone Property Group, Mack-Cali Realty Corp. and Parkway Corp., the partnership that purchased the building in 2013. Here's what Keystone's President Bill Glazer said about the new experience in a recent release:
Here's what Inga Saffron said about her time at the beer garden:
"With the opening of the beer garden on the plinth, we finally have a good reason to climb the steps. Who needs the typical beer-garden distractions of bocce and shuffleboard when you can instead look at Belluschi's flared, eggnog-colored columns and deeply incised ceiling as you sip your favorite brew?" Ms. Saffron is referring to Pietro Belluschi, the architect of the building along with George M. Ewing. The "Plexiglas Palace" turned 50 years old back in May. Hidden City profiled its history, including it use of Plexiglas in the design:
"One requisite of that excellent structure came from Rohm and Haas directly: the incorporation of the company's most successful product, Plexiglas. Among a number of chemists in a growing plastic industry, Otto Röhm decades earlier became an expert developing acrylics, and one in particular escalated his company's trajectory. In 1933, while trying to develop a safer, shatter-resistant glass, Röhm did one better, accidentally creating polymethyl methacrylate, a clear, solid acrylic sheet he trademarked as Plexiglas."
The distinctive exterior panels are a deep bronze Plexiglass.
· Rohm And Haas: The Plexiglas Palace At 50 [Hidden City]
· Exclusive: Major overhaul planned for Dow building [PBJ]