Thursday, October 29, 2015

Post Brothers Reimagining Garden Court Plaza in Philadelphia

by Steve Lubetkin,
Post Brothers, which has embarked on a $200 million makeover of the Presidential City Apartment complex on City Avenue, is moving into the University City district with the acquisition of Garden Court Plaza, a 13-story, 146-unit apartment building at 4701 Pine Street in Philadelphia. The acquisition highlights Post Brothers’ development strategy in the University City neighborhood, where it expects to invest $250 million in the coming years.

"Ultimately, our goal is to create a new standard of living in University City, where the housing product has not kept pace with the growth of local arts, entertainment, and culture," Michael Pestronk, CEO and cofounder of Post Brothers, tells exclusively. “Like so many of the buildings in this neighborhood, Garden Court Plaza reflects the history of the early 20th century residential development boom of University City. While we're indeed making significant upgrades to the building's apartments and common areas, it remains important that we preserve its unique character in the context of the surrounding area."

Post Brothers will commence a strategic effort to reposition Garden Court Plaza, including the implementation of substantial renovations to the buildings’ exteriors and interiors, upgrading of common areas, and the addition of a new onsite management team.

Post Brothers will revive several signature features from the historic Garden Court Plaza building, originally constructed between 1927 and 1929. One such feature is the unique dual-panel front door system – once used for dry cleaning pick-up and drop-off – which the company will restore to peak condition. Additionally, Post Brothers will recreate the building’s “green roof” atop its 260-car parking garage, effectively creating a private park complete with dog runs and lounge areas.

As previously reported by, Post Brothers is renovating the entire Presidential City complex on City Avenue. Pestronk's brother Matt, who appeared on a panel at the CapRate Apartment Summit in Livingston this week, indicated the company also has redevelopment projects in pipeline the urban “Gold Coast” submarket encompassing Jersey City, Harrison, and Bayonne.

University City has undergone a significant economic revitalization, attracting a confluence of arts, entertainment, and new residents. The neighborhood is bounded by several academic institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and The University of the Sciences.

“University City has long been a hotbed for the City’s brightest young minds, and the continued expansion of local arts and culture has only made it a more attractive place to live,” says Pestronk. “Our principal goal is to harness the energy of this exciting neighborhood to create re-imagined, high-quality apartments that are reflective of the neighborhood’s vibrant, upwardly-mobile population.”

The property also provides seamless access to the local universities, as well as 30th Street Station, which services both SEPTA and Amtrak train lines.

The company cited University City’s long-term viability for students and post-graduates in its pursuit of Garden Court Plaza and future investments in the area. All three of the neighborhood’s major universities are undertaking extensive multi-million-dollar expansions, and the University City District — a partnership of the area’s educational institutions, businesses, and residents – sponsors various outdoor gathering places, including traditional parks and playgrounds, as well as temporary “parklets.” One space, The Porch at 30th Street Station, has transformed sidewalks and a parking area into a performance and gathering space, which continues to experience increased use as more office workers join the University City mix.

“The ongoing revitalization of University City continues to be one of the most compelling stories in America’s big cities,” says Pestronk. “As the steady influx of start-ups and young companies persists, we believe there is an incredible demand for housing that’s uniquely upscale, yet attainable.”

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