Philadelphia Landmarks Undergo Renovation

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor A newly restored apartment building for seniors was opened last week in Philadelphia. The 52,248-square-foot historic Presser building was originally commissioned by sheet music publisher and philanthropist Theodore Presser for retired teachers who had dedicated their entire lives [...]

A newly restored apartment building for seniors was opened last week in Philadelphia. The 52,248-square-foot historic Presser building was originally commissioned by sheet music publisher and philanthropist Theodore Presser for retired teachers who had dedicated their entire lives to music. The construction was completed in 1914.

In 2002 the Presser building was at risk for demolition after having suffered many years of serious deterioration. In 2006 the building was purchased by Nolen Properties. The developer preserved the establishment’s original features while converting it into a modern facility that would be appealing to its neighbors. The restoration plan was designed by architect Matthew J. Koening of JKR Partners LLC three years ago and aimed at keeping the building’s defining elements. New windows and a new roof were added while the façade was cleaned up to its original appearance.

Currently Presser Senior Apartments includes 45 affordable housing units; 43 are one-bedroom with an estimated rent of $730 a month. Nolan Properties has expanded its restoration plans to the adjacent Nugent building which will also be converted into affordable apartments for seniors.

The Kimmel Center, another Philly landmark, will undergo major renovation as well, exactly 10 years after it opened. The full amount that is needed for master plan completion has not been settled yet, but Kimmel’s board is definitely set to convert the establishment into a vibrant urban performance center.

Most of the renovation plan will be carried by Philadelphia-based Kieran Timberlake in gradual phases, as money is raised. The first round of work will result in improved amenities so that the new Kimmel Centre can start generating revenue. The Broad St. façade will feature a small stage instead of its original black cube, the Innovation Theater located at the basement will have its own street-level entrance on Spruce St. and the two staircases rising from Kimmel Plaza to the first tier of Verizon Hall will be replaced by new ones positioned on an angle along Verizon’s exterior.

The renovation plan also includes several non-public spaces such as a lounge for visiting orchestras, a reception space for donors and a new office space for Kimmel Center’s administration. Once the Kimmel administration moves to the new office, the group will give up its rental offices located at 260 S. Broad St.