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PHILADELPHIA–Locally based Dranoff Properties has broken ground for Venice Lofts, a 128-unit residential condominium complex on Venice Island between the Schuylkill River and the Manayunk Canal. A textile mill formerly occupied the 3.3-acre parcel, and Dranoff has retained and completely renovated three of the original industrial buildings and added three more that replicate them in architectural style.

The construction cost is estimated at $45 million, Carl Dranoff tells GlobeSt.com. While all phases are being constructed simultaneously, the 38 townhouse-style units are expected to reach completion in August 2006, he says, while the mid-rise construction for the 90 “flats” takes somewhat longer and will reach completion between September and December next year.

The one-, two- and three-bedroom flats, many with dens, range from 700 sf to 1,500 sf, and townhouse units will range from 760 sf to 3,000 sf. Ceilings are expected to be nine feet or higher, and window walls offer views of the river, canal and courtyard. Selling prices begin in the upper $300,000s and reach to the $700,000s, and Dranoff says the complex is one-third pre-sold. “We’re getting a broader market than we expected,” he says. “Buyers are not just from Center City and the Main Line, but also from New Jersey, Bucks County and New York City.”

The location is within walking distance of Manayunk’s Main Street shops and restaurants and approximately 30 seconds from Interstate 76. The complex includes Canal Club with a library, catering kitchen and TV and a fitness center, parking and security. The architect is locally based Bower Lewis Thrower.

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