Walnut Street is getting a new high-end apartment building.  Credit: Alterra Property Group Walnut Street is getting a new high-end apartment building.
Credit: Alterra Property Group

What does it mean to be an icon? Before we even begin tackling that one, let’s just focus on what it means to be an icon in Philadelphia real estate. Is it the ubiquitous South Philly row home with mirrored doors and floored wallpaper, or the rambling old Victorians in West Philly? In a lot of ways, updated, eco-friendly dwellings are becoming more synonymous with the city, too. All of these are icon contenders.

If we take a look at recent developments, the new face of Philadelphia living may be leaning toward historic restoration. Fitting, then, that 1616 Walnut — the former site of the Pew Trust and once home to John Pew — is being dubbed Icon by its creators. The three companies leading the development are Alterra Property Group (Florida), Federal Capital Partners (Washington, D.C.) and Cross Properties (Philadelphia). We asked Leo Addimando, managing partner at Alterra, what it’s like to work with so many cooks in the kitchen. “Everyone has certain responsibilities,” he explains. “The ground work is being done by the local companies and Federal Capital is providing oversight and expertise.”

Along with the three head figures, Addimando factors in those who are doing the actual construction and the construction oversight. “It’s an extensive project,” he says, though he does not sound discouraged. In fact, Addimando sounds excited to be a part of the challenge that is restoring a historic building. “There are various levels of restorations, and all historic elements are being looked over.” Addimando mentions that part of the interior restoration and “adaptive reuse” includes restoring the old John Pew apartment on the 25th floor and the Pew offices one floor below to fit the feel of the new Icon.

 

The companies expect to open the doors of Icon in the first quarter of next year. Addimando shows excitement over being part of a new wave of luxury living in Philadelphia. “I would argue that up until recently there haven’t been many true luxury apartments in the city. Luxury condos, yes, but not apartments,” he says. We’re keeping our eyes peeled for followers.

The details

A few of Icon’s amenities include gourmet demo kitchens, a yoga studio and a pet-grooming station. But according to Addimando, it’s the rooftop common space that will set the building apart. “It’ll be restored and enhanced to allow for outdoor barbecues, an indoor catering kitchen, lounging and sun-bathing areas — and it’ll be open year-round,” he says.

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