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PHILADELPHIA-A joint-venture partnership between the Blue Bell-based Goldenberg Group and Brown Hill Development begins conversion of the 13-story Art Deco landmark at South Seventh Street and Washington Square West into 56 residential condos. David Mercuris, Goldenberg’s VP of development, tells GlobeSt.com it closed on the acquisition of the building last week; however, plans for the Ayer condominium project have long been in the works.

The building, built in 1929 as headquarters for NW Ayer & Son, the country’s first ad agency, is listed on the Registry of Historic Places. To comply with the Landmarks Commission and neighboring residents, the JV scrapped plans to raise the roof. The exterior, including two large Egyptian-inspired frescos and the large bronze sculptured doors, will be refurbished. Mercuris declined to disclose the price paid to former owner, Wayne Zukin, but says the construction cost of conversion is estimated at $60 million.

Condo units range in size from one-bedroom layouts of 1,218 sf to bi-level, three-bedroom penthouses up to 3,677 sf. There are no more than five units per floor, and the south-facing 22 units have balconies. Mercuris says prices begin at $700,000 and reach to $5 million. “I think the market can definitely handle it.” Laurie Phillips of the local office of Prudential Fox Roach is handling sales and marketing. Completion is expected in spring 2007.

The architects are locally based Wesley Wei and Polatnick Zacharjasz. Wilmington Trust provided financing of an undisclosed amount. Huntingdon Valley-based Jeffrey M. Brown Associates, an affiliate of Brown Hill, is managing construction. While this construction company has worked with Goldenberg on many of its retail developments, this is the first Goldenberg/Brown Hill joint venture.

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