By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new apartment building at the foot of Race Street – called “Bridge” – is designed to provide a link between the Old City District and Philadelphia’s waterfront. On Wednesday, officials broke ground on the $65-million project.

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Right in the shadow of the Ben Franklin Bridge sits a vacant lot at 2nd and Race Streets.

“This is a transformative project,” says Brown Hill Development’s Jeffrey Brown, who predicts the project will reinvigorate the area split up by I-95. “This is a connecting project. It’s called ‘bridge,’ by no accident.”

It’s a Class A apartment project, which translates to high-end amenities in and around the 146 units, with views of Center City and the waterfront.

Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger says Bridge’s 17 stories incorporates two glass and dark metal towers, a four-story podium base to match the nearby mostly low-rise brick buildings, with outdoor green space on the fifth floor.

Officials break ground on "Bridge" project. (credit: Steve Tawa)

Officials break ground on “Bridge” project. (credit: Steve Tawa)

“And then on the upper levels it responds to this great opening to the bridge,” Greenberger says, “the scale of that, the opportunity to see the river, and it blends it very skillfully.”

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Brown notes that rents around town are on the upswing, occupancy rates are up, and more folks are looking for unique living spaces.

“This is a thriving place,” he says. “There are a lot of people who need to have choices about where to live.”

The studio to two bedroom units will run between $1,900 and $3,500 a month.

There will be limited parking at the lower level, with 28 spaces for vehicles.

Brown anticipates the complex will be completed in 18-20 months.

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Brown Hill says it’s the first multi-family high-rise in Center City to earn LEED Gold Certification, a nod to its design efficiency and sustainably harvested building materials.