When Alliance HSP breaks ground at the end of this month on an apartment building at Sono, it will be the culmination of a five-year effort to redevelop the Northern Liberties property.
It will also highlight how much has changed at that corner of the city over that time and the property’s redevelopment is both a reflection and cause of that. The development, called Sono, also evolved, underscoring how initial ideas sometimes don't pan out.
When the Bryn Mawr real estate firm bought the 220,000-square-foot building at 5th and Spring Garden streets for $14 million in the fall of 2014, the company had plans to turn it into creative office space. That idea wasn't embraced by the market but may have been ahead of its time. During that same period, Arts and Crafts Holdings, a Philadelphia real estate company, has been gobbling up properties in and around Sono and a few blocks away, creating an emerging office submarket. Nonetheless, the lack of office activity at the property prompted Alliance HSP to shift gears.
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Alliance HSP pivoted and decided to move forward with a mixed-use project it that was buoyed by new zoning that allowed increased heights and a variety of uses at the property. That widened the type of tenants that Alliance HSP could chase and might consider moving to 5th and Spring Garden. In quick succession, the Philadelphia Department of Records and Archives, Yards Brewing Co. and Target Corp. leased space and filled the building.
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