Saturday, January 19, 2013

$100M renovation Planned for Presidential City on City Ave.

by Natalie Kostelni

Presidential City, a massive, dated apartment complex on the Philadelphia side of City Avenue, is slated to undergo a $100 million renovation.
The new owner, Post Brothers Apartments of Philadelphia, envisions gutting Presidential City’s four, 12-story buildings, re-skinning the fa├žades and reconfiguring portions of one of the structures fronting City Avenue for up to 70,000 square feet of retail and amenity space.
Even though the property is highly visible and has always maintained an occupancy rate of more than 90 percent, the complex looks every bit of its age. Its more than 1,000 units were built beginning in the early 1950s.
“It’s a big, giant, tired hulking property,” said Matt Pestronk, president of Post Brothers. “It’s so old and capital intensive. That it traded brings it to another chapter of its life.”
Few apartment complexes in the area are as large and well known as Presidential City. It was constructed by renowned Philadelphia builder John McShain.
“He’s part of the history of Philadelphia and he was a great builder,” said Ronald Rubin, who, along with his father, helped construct 555 City Ave. directly across the street from Presidential City. That office building was completed in 1964.
John McShain Inc. was one of the largest builders in the nation, completing more than 300 projects throughout the mid-Atlantic region during the mid-20th century. Most of McShain’s work was done during the New Deal era in Washington, D.C., where he built 80 projects. Some of the projects McShain’s company completed are nothing short of spectacular. The Pentagon, the Jefferson Memorial, the State Department building and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts are all his work. He also undertook a major renovation of the White House in 1951.

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