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March 22, 2019  

Builder Eyes Loan for Philadelphia High-Rise

A developer is looking to line up $300 million of construction debt for an upscale residential building in Philadelphia’s tony Rittenhouse Square neighborhood.

Southern Land has begun work on a 289-unit tower, dubbed The Laurel, at 1911 Walnut Street. The Franklin, Tenn., developer and investment shop has tapped Newmark to arrange the financing. The preference is for a five-year loan with a degree of prepayment flexibility.

At 48 stories, The Laurel would be Philadelphia’s tallest residential tower upon completion sometime in 2021. Plans call for 235 apartments and 54 condominiums. The site is the only vacant parcel on the perimeter of Rittenhouse Square, a park six blocks southwest of City Hall. The surrounding neighborhood is known for high-end shops, hotels and restaurants.

Southern Land purchased the land in 2015 for around $40 million and received design approval last spring. When the company broke ground in September, it said that about a quarter of the condos had already been sold. Condo prices start at around $2.5 million. Some apartments will be operated as short-term rentals.

The tower will have separate lobbies and entrances for residents in the different portions of the building. There will also be 45,000 square feet of retail space on the lower floors and an underground garage with 216 spaces.

Among the features listed on the property’s website are: a heated indoor pool and spa, a yoga studio, a fitness center, a lounge with a bar and catering kitchen, a pet spa, a guest rental suite, valet parking and climate-controlled storage space. Upper-floor units will have sweeping views of Center City.

Southern Land has developed one other multi-family project in Philadelphia. In a partnership with Redwood Capital of Chicago, it completed a 363-unit building at 3601 Market Street in 2015 and sold it last July for $139 million. The buyer was FPA Multifamily of San Francisco.