A local developer, who’s hoping to bring a 200-foot project, complete with upscale hotel rooms and luxury condos, to 2nd and Race streets, says the development could help grow the neighborhood.
The proposal for the project at 200 Race Street will go in front of the Architectural Committee at a meeting later this month. It suggests bringing 4,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space, 117 upscale hotel rooms, amenities, underground parking, and 24 luxury residential units to the corner of Race and 2nd. The proposal also includes plans to restore the existing three story landmark building and repurpose it as the base of the new structure.
“It will bring more street traffic and visitors to the historic district,” Andy Kaplin, Director of Development for the Revolution Development Group, which is overseeing the project, said Tuesday. Kaplin has been a developer in Philly for 15 years and this would be his fourth project in Old City. He said the neighborhood could use another boutique hotel, and this spot is ideal.
However, he knows he might run into some difficulties with the building, namely with the legal hight limit in Old City, which is 65 feet. For this project, which would likely top off at 212 feet, Kaplin will need a variance. Still, he points to other buildings in the neighborhood, which are taller than 65 feet, and says his project would be a boon to Old City.
“This would be the closest access to the river and still give access to restaurants and boutique shops,” Kaplin said, adding that it would be both a good location for visitors coming to the city off I-95, and hopeful residents.
With those prospective tenants and visitors, Kaplin said the project could help Old City grow. He also said that he’s spoken with members of the community, city council, and the planning commission about the project, many of whom have seen it as a positive addition to the neighborhood.
“I’m a lifelong Philadelphian, my business partner is a lifelong Philadelphian. We’ve watched our city grow, we’ve watched Old City grow,” Kaplin said, adding that he knows the building would be above code, but he hopes people will recognize the value it would bring to the neighborhood.
“There are very few sites left in Old City for large scale development,” he said.