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500 Walnut, Philly’s newest and most luxurious condo tower, in photos

The 26-story tower with the priciest home in the city is a lesson in luxury

500 Walnut is Philly’s newest luxury condo tower, designed by Cecil Baker + Partners.
Photos by Melissa Romero

Councilman Mark Squilla put it best when he tried to describe just how posh the new 500 Walnut tower really is: “What amazed me is that when you come into the building’s parking deck, it feels like you’re in a lobby of a hotel.”

Squilla’s remarks came at the opening of developer Tom Scannapieco’s latest project, a 26-story tower at the corner of 5th and Walnut. The skinny, angular tower was designed by Cecil Baker + Partners and features just 35 condo residences and a impressive list of high-end amenities that make it one of the city’s most exclusive, luxurious residential projects to date.

It also has some of the priciest pads in Philly: In June 2016, the project made real estate history with the sale of its bi-level penthouse for $17.85 million, the most expensive residential transaction in the history of Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the price tag on the tower’s smallest residences, already 2,700 square feet, is $3 million.

“500 Walnut fosters the ability for more contemporary spaces to exist in Philadelphia,” said architect Cecil Baker.

Scannapieco, whose most recent project is 1706 Rittenhouse, said, “This project is the pinnacle of my career.”

The property was the last-remaining site for development around Independence Mall, and highly sought-after by both local and out-of-town developers, recalled Cecil Baker. “I’ve been identified with this site for many years and did many plans with developers from New York, Chicago, Philadelphia—and they could never make it work,” he said. “And they walked away from this a little bit poorer, with bruised egos. And then along came Tom.”

It’s a complicated site—and not just because it’s located across the street from Independence Hall, a UNESCO Heritage site that’s part of the national park. 500 Walnuts sits a super-skinny site on the corner of 5th and Walnut; it essentially spoons its neighbor, the Penn Mutual Tower at 510 Walnut.

But Baker’s angular design and multiple setbacks on the 4th and 13th floors were also intentional: It allows the building to be hidden from view when visitors at the Liberty Bell look toward Independence Hall. That was a requirement from the National Park Service.

Mayor Jim Kenney weighed in on the design, too, saying, “We must continue this trend of both embracing the new and modern while still celebrating our history. The record-breaking impact of 500 Walnut is just the beginning of progress I hope we will make here.”

The project broke ground in March 2015 and only topped off in March 2017. It’s about 75 percent sold, and throughout the rest of the year and winter residents will continue to move into their homes, which range from 2,700 to 8,900 square feet. Only one to two residences take up each floor.

Here’s a peek into the tower’s luxurious list of amenities:

Robotic parking garage

The underground parking garage holds up to 86 cars, which comes out to more than two cars per household. But the real kicker about this amenity is that all residents have to do is swipe their key fob and wait for their car to be delivered to them in less than 90 seconds. This amenity is only available here and at Scannapieco’s other project 1706 Rittenhouse.

24/7 concierge and a Tesla car

Even residents who don’t have their own car to park in the robotic garage are hooked up: There’s a Tesla town car available, in addition to 24/7 concierge services.

The amenity space on the fourth floor features both indoor and outdoor fireplaces and places for residents to gather.

4th floor amenity level

Every resident has access to a 4,000-square-foot terrace on the fourth floor. The expansive outdoor space looks over Independence Park. It has an outdoor fireplace, multiple built-in benches and outdoor seatings, and a gazebo.

Also on this level is a game room, a conference room, another impressive fireplace, and a fitness center with sauna and massage rooms. But perhaps one of the most stunning spaces is the 50-foot indoor lap pool and jacuzzi. The whole space is sky-lit.

The 50-foot-long indoor lap pool also features a jacuzzi.

So what’s next for Scannapieco? He’s been in talks with the Society Hill neighborhood once again for another condo tower, this time at the Ritz-5 movie complex.

But, quipped Baker, “He said to me, ‘This time, let’s do a real modern building.’”

The fourth floor terrace at 500 Walnut looks over Independence Park.

Independence Hall

520 Chestnut Street, , PA 19106 Visit Website

500 Walnut

500 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 Visit Website