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PHILADELPHIA-The former Metropolitan Hospital at Eighth and Race streets, which lay vacant for more than a decade, will open next month as the 129-unit MetroClub Condominiums. Local developer Ron Caplan and partners Ira Lubert and Dean Adler of Lubert Adler Partners, also based here, invested $30 million to acquire and convert the property.

Greenville, SC-based IMI Residential is marketing the condos, which begin in the $250,000 range and top off at more than $800,000 for the largest of the 14 penthouses, which rise above the top floor of the original structure. Owners receive the 10-year tax abatement that applies to all residential conversions and new construction.

Marc Palermo, IMI’s VP of sales and marketing, anticipates a sell-out with net proceeds of more than $50 million on the day of the grand opening, scheduled for next month. He says IMI has garnered more than 250 $1,000-refundable deposits. Once a deposit is placed, buyers will be given a purchase number for selection of their unit.

In addition to the 14 one- and two-bedroom penthouses, ranging from 800 sf to 1,800 sf, there are 88 one-bedroom and one-bed+den units, ranging from 850 sf to 2,300 sf, and 27 two-bedroom units, ranging from 1,000 sf to 2,250 sf. The building will have 24/7 security and concierge service, high ceilings, wood floors, on-site parking and storage, and a fitness center and outdoor pool. Units will have individually metered electric HVAC, and washer/dryer and cable/data hook-ups.

Project architect is Matthew Koenig of locally based JK Roller Architects; Meg Rodgers of Marguerite Rodgers Ltd., also based here, is interior designer, and Philadelphia Management & Cos. is property manager. PNC Bank provided financing.

MetroClub is one of 67 multifamily projects under way or planned here, according to tabulation by Center City District, a local business improvement group. CCD says 1,600 residential condo and apartment units will have been put on the market here by year-end, making 2004 a record year for multifamily residential development Downtown.

An upgrading of Franklin Square, adjacent to MetroClub, is also under way. Caplan says, “We’ve been working very closely with the Fairmount Parks Commission regarding plans to breathe new life into the park.” It is one of the five city parks in William Penn’s original plans for Philadelphia.

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