After sitting empty for more than a decade, the lot at Second and Race streets in Old City is finally seeing some action. Bridge, a sleek 17-story residential high-rise from Brown Hill Development, is designed to be eco-friendly, and — unusual for a property like this — includes affordable housing units.
“We purchased the property [in 2001] with the idea of a special building,” says Jeff Brown, president of Brown Hill. “We went through a round of attempts to build — there was opposition from the Old City Civic Association, and then the recession.”
Job Itzkowitz, executive director of Old City District, which replaced the Civic Association, declined to comment on the opposition, but did tentatively say more people moving into the neighborhood is a good thing. “Though our research is not yet complete, early findings suggest that residents and business owners alike would like to see more people in Old City,” he hedges. “Efforts that bring about more residential density without disrupting the fabric of the neighborhood could be well received.”
The building will have 146 units, plus ground-floor commercial space. Half of the units will be one-bedroom apartments; the rest are split between studios and two-bedrooms.
Rent will be, roughly, from $1,900 to $3,500. The 15 affordable housing units will run about half the rent of comparable units. “I believe it’s the first high-rise apartment building in the city that incorporates an affordable component,” says Brown. “[Those units] will have the same finishing and treatments as all the other apartments.”
Bridge amenities include a fitness center, co-working spaces (very trendy right now), a 24-hour concierge, and an big outdoor space on the fifth floor. Brown calls it the Green Roof, describing an communal area with tables, hammocks, space to barbecue, and spots to hunker down with your computer and colleagues.
“We think the way people work these is changing dramatically,” he says. “People want to conduct business from their apartments. We want to focus on qualifies of life that are important and appealing, and [amenities] that will get used.”
Bridge is aiming for LEED Gold certification, bestowed by the U.S. Green Building Council based on environmentally friendly aspects of a building. The Gold rating applies when a development scores 60-79 points out of a possible 110.
“We want to give back to the city,” says Brown. “We’re all living together, and why not?”