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Converting, Constructing and Developing Housing

Converting an Historic Mansion at 4200 Pine to 34 New Condos

Watercolor rendering by James Mann, Facilities & Real Estate Services


Penn is partnering with the Rodin Group, an international real estate investment company, to convert a century-old historic mansion, located at 4200 Pine Street in University City, into 34 new condominiums in the heart of the Spruce Hill community.

4200 Pine Street was designed as a house and estate by famed Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer (1868-1938), who achieved considerable success as the architect of many prominent buildings throughout Philadelphia, including the Free Library of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as Irvine Auditorium and the President’s House here at Penn. 4200 Pine is an excellent example of the homes built in West Philadelphia as it emerged in the late 19th century as one of Philadelphia’s elegant “streetcar suburbs.”

“The decision to convert 4200 Pine into condominiums is consistent with the goals of the University, including supporting the community through increasing homeownership opportunities, attracting families with children to the Penn Alexander Elementary School, and attracting private development into the community,” said Omar H. Blaik, senior vice president of facilities and real estate services. “It also allows Penn to place office space back on the core campus, not in the neighborhood.”

The new condominiums will be built in a variety of fashions to accommodate a diversity of residents including one-, two- and three-bedroom units, and a variety of flats, bi-level and tri-level options. Every unit will include  hardwood flooring in living areas and new bathrooms and kitchens. It is estimated that the conversion will cost $8 million.

“University City has a growing demand for homeownership and has experienced increased valuations of property worth. Residents are drawn to the high-performing Penn Alexander public school, and the active corridors around 40th Street and Baltimore Avenue,” said Neal Rodin, managing director of the Rodin Group. 

Horace Trumbauer originally designed the stately brick residence in 1904 for the Charles Eisenlohr family, owners of the Conco Cigar Company. Built in the French Renaissance architectural style, the building is laid out in an H-shape, framing a garden bordered by decorative iron fences. Notable features include the building’s tall end chimneys and columned porches. In 1936 the property became the first permanent headquarters of the American College of Physicians and during their ownership four additions were erected in 1947, 1961, 1962 and 1971 creating the current complex of buildings, totaling 56,300 square feet. Penn bought the property in 1989.

Prior to returning the space to residential use, the University used the property to house administrative offices which are being relocated to other campus locations: the Penn Press has moved to 3905 Spruce Street; Creative Communications is moving to St. Leonard’s Court later this week, and other offices will be moving out next week.

4200 Pine Street—Restoration/Reuse project by Facilities & Real Estate Services

• 34 luxury residential condominiums, including one- two-and three-bedroom units and a large single-family home in the historic mansion

• Some will have private entrances and outdoor living areas; residences will surround a courtyard

• Parking spaces available on property

• Located in Spruce Hill neighborhood, near Clark Park and University of the Sciences

• Located in the Penn Alexander School catchment area

• 10-year tax abatement

• Penn faculty & staff eligible for Penn’s Mortgage Assistance Program

• Construction set to start this summer (2005) and be completed next summer (2006)

For more information visit www.4200pine.com.

$100 Million Mixed-Use Development

Penn and Hanover RS Limited partnership of Texas will develop a $100 million mixed-use building of luxury apartments, retail shops and a parking garage at the northwest corner of 34th and Chestnut streets, next to the Sheraton University City. Penn currently operates a surface parking lot at that location which will close September 1. Transient parking spaces will be made available in other lots.  The University will lease the land to Hanover for 65 years.

The $100 million project will be seven or eight stories and include 295 luxury apartments with approximately 325,000 gross square feet, a five-story parking structure with approximately 320 parking spaces and approximately 26,000 square feet of commercial and retail space on the first floor.

“University City continues to attract new development, new businesses and new residents to one of Philadelphia’s most vibrant neighborhoods,” said Omar H. Blaik, senior vice president of facilities and real estate services. “This project is part of our East Campus strategy and is indicative of Penn’s commitment to engage locally in building communities and invest in job creation and economic development.”

The groundbreaking will be in September 2005. Completion of the project is expected by late 2007.

Affordable Housing: Designing an American Asset

The School of Design presents Affordable Housing: Designing an American Asset, an exhibition that demonstrates how well-designed, affordable homes can create real value for the communities in which they are built and the low- to moderate-income residents who live in the homes. Philadelphia is the first stop on this nationwide touring exhibition, sponsored by the Fannie Mae Foundation and the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C. The show in Philadelphia runs through May 27. 

The exhibition uses models, photographs, drawings and video to showcase 18 housing developments from urban and rural neighborhoods across the country. These innovative designs illustrate how America’s architects are devoting their vision to creating affordable homes that are energy efficient, durable, economical to maintain, aesthetically appealing and a complement to the communities in which they are located.

The exhibition is free and open to the public weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The exhibition is on display at the Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services Office, 3101 Walnut Street (Left Bank). For more information, call (215) 898-5706.

Three Philadelphia projects that are part of the online exhibit (clockwise): Martin Luther King Plaza; Sharswood Townhouses; and Carl Mackley Apartments. The exhibit’s website is www.nbm.org/Exhibits/online/





  Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 28, April 12, 2005


April 12, 2005
Volume 51 Number 28


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