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PHILADELPHIA-A 30-unit condo building is set to break ground by the end of this year on a now-vacant lot at 108 Arch St. in the Old City neighborhood of Center City. The developer is Brown Hill Development, and affiliate of Huntington Valley, PA-based Jeffrey M. Brown Associates Inc., which also has offices in New York City.

The 12-story building, called Old City 108, will be the tallest in Old City, a neighborhood that is undergoing significant gentrification. Numerous restaurants, galleries, shops and conversions of industrial properties into multifamily residences have opened there over the past several years. Brown Hill faced initial resistance from the neighborhood, but negotiated architectural changes that eventually obtained the approval of Old City Civic Association.

Prices for units in Old City 108 rival those commanded in the well established, upscale Rittenhouse Square and Society Hill areas. They begin at $330,000 for a 960-sf, one-bedroom unit on the second floor, and rise to $1.9 million for each of two top-floor penthouses. Each penthouse is approximately 2,700 sf and has three bedrooms and a private, 1,500-sf terrace containing a powder room and storage area. One penthouse and six additional units have been sold.

Charles Jefferson, Brown Hill’s director of development, declined to provide GlobeSt.com with an estimated construction cost, saying, “We are just finalizing details now.” Old City 108 is expected to reach completion in 2005. Gabe Canuso, JMB’s manager of business development, says Old City 108 is the first of several developments the company plans for that neighborhood.

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