PHILADELPHIA-Marc Stein and Ryan Roberts, two native-Philadelphia iron and steel contractors, have obtained investors, zoning approval and land to develop the city’s tallest, primarily residential tower and its third tallest building of all. Called Bridgeman’s View in tribute to Ironworkers Local Union 401, which helped construct the Ben Franklin Bridge, it will rise 66 stories at an estimated cost of $600 million.

Stein says the company has acquired a 3.5-acre riverfront parcel at 900 N. Delaware Ave. in Northern Liberties for nearly $30 million. “It has a one-acre parking lot and industrial buildings that are now about 70% leased,” he says. Groundbreaking is scheduled for this November, with delivery in 2010.

The developer entity, 2945 PDI LLC, is backed by a Northern New Jersey-based investor group, which Stein tells, “has projects in England, Gibraltar, Miami and Israel.” Without identifying the group’s members, he says, “they seek projects that have value; Philadelphia is in their sights, and they see this as an iconic addition to the city.”

Although the design is not fully complete, he tells it will include 80,000 sf of restaurants and retail on the first two floors, a 250-room boutique hotel up to the 15th floor, topped by approximately 700 residential condos. Off the 15th floor there will be an amenity deck, which Stein says, “will be a club, shared by residents, hotel guests and open to membership by neighborhood residents,” a feature worked out in discussions with the community.

“The developers have demonstrated a commitment to work with the community,” says Jennifer Lewis, president of the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association, in a statement. Among the other agreements with NLNA is the renovation of Canal Street, which will be pedestrian-only, and the inclusion of outdoor dining venues. In addition, the developer’s plans call for a green building that qualifies for LEED certification.

“Financing for the hotel is in place,” Stein says, “and a couple of branded entities are now vying for it.” Condo pre-selling will begin within eight months and be handled in house. One-bedroom units of about 1,000 sf are priced in the mid-$700,000s. “Bi-level and tri-level penthouses of up to 5,000 sf or more are available,” he says, and puts overall pricing within the range of $700 per sf to $750 per sf.

Plans for Bridgeman’s View began prior to the award of a gaming license for SugarHouse Casino, which will be across from it and does not have the neighbors’ blessing. “We don’t know what impact it will have,” Stein says. “But, it’s another sign that Philadelphia is on the move. We hope it’s good for the city and the state and the neighborhood.

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