Friday, August 30, 2019

Commercial Project Transformation of the Year

By Ingrid Tunberg
In our pre-event coverage of’s ADAPT awards, we took a closer look at adaptive reuse projects across the country. The winner of the commercial project transformation of the year is Piazza Pod Park in Philadelphia. We will be honoring the project at our awards ceremony in Baltimore on September 16th.

Originally sited as a vacant parking lot in an industrial area devoid of steady foot traffic, the development of Pizza Pod Park has transformed the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia into a widely-desirable, residential area.
Upon identifying the need for a community epicenter and recognizing the underutilized space of The Piazza, the Post Brothers acquired the property from Kushner Companies in 2018 and began construction that same year. The development project spans across nearly 125,000 square feet, featuring retail and commercial space, a public area and a 500-unit apartment community. Looking to bring life back to the area and promote community connections, the firm plans to cultivate a thriving social neighborhood scene with dining, fitness and entertainment options. Located at Germantown Avenue and Second Street, the formerly Schmidt’s Commons is being repositioned to revitalize The Piazza, shifting attractions and physically moving the community hub to hold events in the expansion of Piazza Pod Park.

Recognizing that the success of the development is dependent on the success of the communal space, the firm employed a dynamic programming strategy to intentionally appeal to everyone in the neighborhood; acquiring renown, established Philadelphia eateries, fresh, family-oriented attractions, as well as quaint, local businesses, all new to the neighborhood.

For the extension of the adjacent courtyard and retail offerings of The Piazza, Piazza Pod Park secured demographically-specific vendors to occupy 14 repurposed shipping containers in the aforementioned, unused parking lot to serve as the main focus of the project. The innovative retailer collective will feature pop-up shops from local vendors, offering fitness, wellness, food and beverage services, showcasing the property’s potential. Vendors of the park include: Essen Bakery, Lil Sum Sum, Tiki Tacos, New Liberty Distillery, Empanada Box, Fit Academy, Tildie’s Toy Box and more.

The park will also exhibit public art installations, seating for 300 people, 200 parking spaces and a two-level enclosed, climate-controlled dining pod and roof deck.
The Post Brothers development team overcame challenges in reimagining the area’s neglected residences as well. The development team has begun renovating the apartment complex with new finishes, planning to construct a new pool and fitness center within the property’s courtyard.

Rent in the area has already increased by 10% since the acquisition of The Piazza, due to hands-on management and rebranding campaigns. Upon renovations and retail repositioning, The Piazza alone is currently valued at $275 million, with numbers expecting to grow following the summer 2019 launch, while the park thrives as a centerpiece of the community.

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