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PHILADELPHIA-The five dilapidated buildings at 2nd and Walnut Streets thathoused Old Original Bookbinders restaurant will undergo a $21-millionrenovation and development that will include 19 residential condos, eight apartmentunits, and a totally refurbished, 13,000-sf restaurant. The lead developeris locally based Renaissance Properties, Inc.

The restaurant that opened in 1865 closed its doors after dinner on NewYear’s Eve, 2001. The financial burden of maintaining the deterioratingstructures combined with a drop in tourism forced John Taxin, the third generation ofhis family to operate Bookbinders, to close.

According to published reports, Taxin sold the property to Renaissance forabout $3 million. His family will operate the new restaurant, which willseat 200 indoors and potentially provide seating for about 150 outdoors. Thisrepresents a considerable downsizing of the rambling restaurant space thatexceeded 50,000 sf.

The site will be renamed The Moravian at Independence Place. Renaissance,experienced in historic renovation, will refurbish and retain the façade ofthe original buildings. Behind the façade will be 19 residential condominiums,projected to sell for about $1 million each, and eight rental apartments.Completion is scheduled for May, 2004.

The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. financed the restaurantportion of the project, largely with HUD 108 funding, a federal loan programdesigned to encourage urban job growth. Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania is providingprivate funding for Moravian.

Cope Lindner Architects and Floss Barber and O’Donnell & Nacarrato areproviding design services. Construction manager is Henderson Construction.

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