clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

First Look: Inside Presidential City's Impressive $100M Transformation

Plus: Details on the resort-style pools, amenities, and more

Presidential City, a high-rise residential community on City Avenue, is in the middle of a $100 million renovation to return its four apartment buildings to their former glory—with a splash of modern, luxurious upgrades included.

A recent tour of properties with Post Brothers developer Mike Pestronk revealed modernized 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments, penthouses, and a resort-style amenity center with pools, hot tubs, bocce courts, and lounge areas.

It's an impressive ongoing transformation from the apartments' former pink bathroom tiles, tiny corner kitchens, and parquet flooring.

"It was really nice through the 50s and 60s, but started to decline in the 70s," Pestronk explained. "We bought this property at the end of its useful life and realized it couldn’t just have a lipstick renovation. It needed a full gut."

Presidential City was built in 1950 by John McShain, the "Man Who Built Washington," including the Pentagon and Jefferson Memorial. McShain's intention was to build 48 residential towers that would be named after the U.S. presidents. He only managed to build the Washington, Madison, Adams, and Jefferson before he sold the rest of the land and moved on.

We bought this property at the end of its useful life and realized it couldn’t just have a lipstick renovation.

In 2012 the Post Brothers bought the property for $80 million, and began renovations in 2014 after they had relocated the tenants. Today, the Washington is fully rented out. The Madison is currently under construction while the other two are undergoing asbestos remediation and guts.

The renovated units—ranging from $1,000 to $4,500—feature LED recessed lighting, new tilt-and-turn windows, hardwood floors, and sleek bathrooms with waterfall shower heads. The penthouses on the top six floors of the Washington have three bedrooms, two walk-in closets, and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Pestronk says the bigger spaces—they clock in at about 2,600 square feet—have attracted local professional athletes from the Sixers and Phillies. "We thought we'd get a lot of established or older adults, but we also have a bunch of professional athletes who don't necessarily care about going out in Rittenhouse," says Pestronk, "Plus, these penthouses are big and spacious, and they're big guys."

But perhaps the development's most impressive makeover is its amenity center and pools, which features a fitness center, spa rooms, a juice bar, and saunas. (This doesn't include the smaller cardio gyms found in each apartment building.)

"It's designed to feel like a Southeast Asian resort," says Pestronk. Three pools—a play pool, lounge pool, and lap pool—take up the center of the amenity area and will open in April. There are two bocce courts to the side, two gourmet kitchens and dining areas, and cabanas.

Next on the agenda for the Post Brothers is renovating the seven properties they recently bought in University City. Garden Court Plaza, a historic building at 47th and Pine, is expected to begin renovations to its lobby this summer.