Scaled back renovation project begins at Penn Arts

April 26, 2010
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Penn ArtsRenovation work finally has begun on the Penn Arts building at 16th and Pennsylvania streets. Developer Christopher Piazza, who paid $1.4 million for the building in 2008, said he gave up on banks unwilling to lend early this year and found two equity investors instead. He had to cut the budget in half, to about $1.5 million, and expects to have the first apartment units available by September. Apartments will start at $885, and will feature original trim, doors and radiator heating, bay windows, stained concrete floors, open style kitchens with bar seating, 40-inch wall-mounted LCD TVs and new appliances. "The original decorative awning will be lit up as it was in 1922, the stylish commercial spaces will be ready for retail tenants, new signage will be installed, existing parking will be expanded, and metered parking will be installed on 16th in the front of the building pending necessary approvals," added Piazza, 25, who plans to move the headquarters of his company, Reverie Estates, into the building. The building also will feature a complimentary laundry room, fitness studio, clubhouse with conference facilities and a rooftop terrace. Piazza said his equity partners in the project are William Poovey and John Hyatt. 

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  • Where are they now?
    Cool, an IBJ Real Estate "where are they now" piece.
    When are you going to follow up on the spiral tower guy?
    • Twisty Tower
      I can say confidently that the twisty tower project is dead and doesn't have a chance of coming back to life.
    • Very Nice
      I live and work near there currently, and while that is a little high for me... I might be able to swing it. I'm curious to see what the kitchen's will be like.
    • Good News
      Very good to hear this is moving forward.
    • Good news
      Smart move on the TVs... those always get people excited.

      I love that building and the area. It's very pretty.
    • Good
      I am happy for Chris...he and his company are a real asset for our city.
    • Not to nit-pick...
      Good news for the neighborhood! Glad to see he's not out of the picture.

      Not to nit-pick, but TVs aren't what I would consider fungible anymore. I wonder how that deal works. I imagine the buyers whining, "I don't want a Sony! All my devices use Panasonic's VIERA Linkâ?¢!" Just sayin'...
    • HA HA
      That's funny Matt, I want that same follow-up!
    • Penn Arts
      I'm so glad that work is finally proceeding! I lived in this building over 10 years ago - I think my 1 bedroom with all utilities included was $399. Glad to know they're expanding the parking, that used to be an issue, but it looks like they're also reducing the number of units. I love that the lighted awning will come back to life as well. Can't wait to see the finished project!
    • Excited
      I'm glad to see that this area is progressing. I wonder if the town homes that were planned just north of the school will ever be completed. The poured the foundation but now they're filled with weeds.
    • My Opinionation
      Phenomenal....Super Phenomenal.
    • roach motel
      Too bad the majority of the budget is going to be eaten up getting rid of the roaches!
    • Response
      Thank you all for your encouragement!

      Nick, the kitchens are going to be a mix of new cabinetry and restored original cabinetry. They will have a very unique and classy look. We'd be happy to show you around late this summer, and feel free to check in on my website here in a few months for new photographs.

      As for the roaches, you'll be happy to hear that I have isolated them to one apartment and will be charging them the market rent.

      All the best to everyone,

      Chris Piazza

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