Buyers plan apartments at 1338-48 Chestnut St.

A buyer is planning to renovate the residential portion of this 17-story Beaux Arts-style building at Broad and Chestnut Streets and offer apartments for rent.
A buyer is planning to renovate the residential portion of this 17-story Beaux Arts-style building at Broad and Chestnut Streets and offer apartments for rent. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer)
Posted: February 27, 2014

The residential portion of the 17-story Beaux Arts-style Avenue of the Arts building at Broad and Chestnut Streets is being sold for an undisclosed amount.

MRP Residential, of Washington, and Principal Real Estate Investors, of Des Moines, Iowa, said they had purchased 176,000 square feet of the building at 1338-48 Chestnut St. and will renovate the space as 220 rental apartments.

While the buyers declined to disclose the amount they will pay, sources say the sale price would be in the range of $175 to $200 per square foot. That would put the sale price at $29.75 million to $34 million.

The joint venture will use the existing facade and structural system but replace all existing systems and interior finishes, the buyers said.

Amenities in the new property will include a lobby, leasing office, fitness center, theater room, interior landscaped courtyard, club room, roof deck, and newly renovated elevator cabs.

Renovation will begin in late 2014 with an expected completion date in early 2016, the buyers said.

The first through fourth floors of the former office building, which houses the Capital Grill and Olive Garden restaurants, will remain retail.

Bob Murphy, managing principal of MRP, called it a "unique opportunity to redevelop this historic structure into a luxury apartment project in the heart of Philadelphia's Center City."

Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., of New York, purchased the building, which was built in 1897 and converted in 1999 to housing for students at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, for $45 million in 2004, records show.

The building was listed for sale by Jones Lang LaSalle in September.

About 550 students live in the building, which was cited in 2010 by the Department of Licenses and Inspections for problems that included unsafe carbon-monoxide levels and a fire-alarm system that did not work.

The art institute's lease expires in September.

Center City, especially the Avenue of the Arts, remains hot property.

In December, developer Carl E. Dranoff announced that he was partnering with Los Angeles-based SBE Entertainment Group to build a 47-story, mixed-use luxury boutique hotel and condominium tower at Broad and Spruce Streets, across from the Kimmel Center, for more than $200 million.

Developer Brook Lenfest is proposing to build two hotels at 15th and Chestnut Streets.

MRP Residential, an affiliate of MRP Realty, has more than 1,050 apartment units under construction and an additional 1,200 in the entitlement and predevelopment phases in Washington and its suburbs.

Principal Real Estate Investors, part of the Principal Financial Group (NYSE: PFG), manages or sub-advises $47.8 billion in commercial real estate assets.



Square footage purchased in building at Broad and Chestnut Streets.


Estimated price per square foot for the deal. (Buyers

would not disclose the

actual sale price.)


Rental units that will go in the renovated space.

215-854-2472 @alheavens

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