Philly Condo Developer Has His Eyes Set On Society Hill Next, Despite Potential Push Back

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The developer behind two successful, high-end residential towers overlooking Rittenhouse Square – 1706 Rittenhouse, and Independence Hall – 500 Walnut, wants to do a third high-rise condo project, and it’s in the heart of Society Hill.

Emphasizing that his “due diligence is very preliminary,” Bucks County developer Tom Scannapieco has the Nelson building under agreement, in the 200-block of Walnut Street, between Dock and Third Streets. But to make it work, he would like to secure the building next door, as well – the Ritz Five movie theaters.

“And before we went too far, attempting to get an agreement on it, we wanted to check in with the community,” he said.

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While the Society Hill Civic Association held a meeting with the developer, its leaders are withholding comment, for now on the project. Scannapieco is very aware that there could be some pushback.

“There’s clearly many voices in Society Hill that will never support a project that’s higher than three stories and that isn’t red brick,” he said.

Scannapieco would like to incorporate new theaters in the Nelson building, and build a condo tower, with 30 to 50 high-end units over the Ritz Five property.

‘The advantage we have with that site is that we’re on the edge of the residential district there,” he said. “It’s zoned for high-rise, and I can’t think of another site in Society Hill where a high-rise can be built, and not cast a shadow on a single residential building.”

Folks will begin moving into his nearby, brand new 500 Walnut Street tower this summer, where the most recent unit is 3 beds 4 baths 4,300 sq ft, is listed for nearly $7 million.

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