The developers and architects for the highly-anticipated 1911 Walnut Street mixed-use development presented updated plans to the Philadelphia Planning Commission yesterday, revealing their intent to seek high-end retailers to fill the first three stories of the building. Specifically, Dustin Downey of Southern Land Company said that they were in talks with a national gym based in New York to potentially fill the third floor on Walnut. Current renderings show that the third floor will feature floor-to-ceiling windows and jut out above the sidewalk. "We want people to understand what's going on in the building," architect Clara Wineberg of Solomon Cordwell Buenz Architecture said in her presentation. "We also anticipate maybe a balcony overlook that retail users can access and also share with the urban park on the fourth floor."
Wineberg also presented two potential options of the residential tower, one at 599 feet and the other at 549 feet. Lowering the building to 549 feet causes the building to become slightly longer toward Sansom. "We feel that does not benefit Sansom Street," Wineberg said. "The experience is better suited with having three-story retail and having a tower more part of Walnut Street."
The team also presented a second set of renderings that revealed another option for the facade along Sansom Street. The yellow facade, made with masonry and steel shown above, is a play on the Philly row houses, explained Wineberg. The other option revealed the facade in a red brick color. These renderings were not available for publication.
The developers are also continuing to seek financial hardship from the Historical Commission for the Warwick Apartment House and Oliver H. Bair Funeral Home. Neil Sklaroff, the attorney for the developers, said, "We have assumed the Historical Commission will grant approval for our pending applications to remove the two Sansom Street buildings that are subject to preservation ordinance."
Still, a member from the Center City Residents' Association said that both the height and position of the tower and the preservation of the two historical buildings are likely to be hot-button issues for stakeholders and residents.
Jena Armistead of Southern Land Company told Curbed Philly in an email, "We still have refinements to make and need to hear for other stakeholders on their latest input." The developers will be meeting this week and next week with community stakeholders.
·1911 Walnut St. Coverage [Curbed Philly]