Eight Winners Announced at ULI Philadelphia’s 3rd Annual Willard G. “Bill” Rouse III Awards for Excellence


Urban Land Institute Philadelphia (ULI Philadelphia),a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities, has announced eight winners for its 2016 Willard G. “Bill” Rouse III Awards for Excellence this evening.

The Awards for Excellence recognizes the best real estate projects completed within the last five years in Eastern and Central Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and Delaware. The winning projects – which represent a variety of types, including urban mixed-use, historic preservation, adaptive reuse, multipurpose entertainment, and institutional projects – were scored by 15 jury members from around the nation on use of best practices; quality planning and design; elements that build healthy places; environmental sustainability and energy reduction; economic success and market acceptance.

“The finalists and winners this year exemplify the developmental trend of urban, community-focused projects, said Antonio Fiol-Silva, FAIA, Chair of ULI Philadelphia and Founding Principal of SITIO architecture + urbanism. “One of the most exciting elements is that this year’s winners, as well as the finalists and nearly all of the 25 applicants, demonstrated the re-emergence of urbanism, the importance of the public realm, and how mixed use results in stronger developments.”

The winners, announced at a celebration attended by more than 250 land use and real estate professionals are (listed alphabetically):

3737 Chestnut (Philadelphia, PA) – Described by Jurors as “well-choreographed public/private partnership with creative multi-source financing on a tight site,” 3737 Chestnut sits at the nexus of top educational institutions and some of the City’s poorest neighborhoods. Developed by Radnor Property Group and designed by BLT Architects, The Harman Group, and SPG3 Architects, this 267-unit mixed-use project in University City stabilized the asset of the historic Episcopal church and incorporated its community center and daycare with a rooftop playground, as well as much-needed market-rate housing and top-notch amenities for those who work and study nearby.

Central Green at the Navy Yard (Philadelphia, PA) – Jointly developed by PIDC, Liberty Property Trust, Synterra Partners, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and designed by James Corner Field Operations, this five-acre park is set in the heart of the Navy Yard’s campus and leverages the outdoors as an amenity serving both the working community and neighborhood. The resulting creative design incorporates recreation, fitness, sustainability, and high-quality outdoor work spaces within a magnificently and natively landscaped environment. Central Green also includes sustainable design elements and sophisticated stormwater management features through a Bio Basin, which treats the first inch of runoff and more than 41,100 square feet of pervious paving along the pedestrian paths. The Jury appreciated that the team took a parcel that did not contribute to development and made it into an exciting asset.

Community Legal Services, North Philadelphia Law Center (Philadelphia, PA) – With a need for significantly more space and long-lasting ties to its growing client base, Community Legal Services (CLS) demonstrated its high level commitment to North Philadelphia with this project. CLS worked with Clemens Construction Company with Atkins Olshin Schade to create this new 19,640-square-foot building, which was constructed on six residential lots previously razed as part of Philadelphia’s Neighborhood Transformation Initiative. The building offers generous light-filled spaces and privacy for clients within a welcoming environment in a dense urban area well-served by mass transit. LEED Gold level was achieved through green space, public meeting space, green roof and garden courtyard. The development leveraged New Market Tax Credits and Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital program, plus equity from CLS and partner PNC Bank. The Jury cited its design excellence, restraint, and its contribution to social equity.

Dilworth Plaza (Philadelphia, PA) – Dilworth Plaza has quickly become the “center square” that William Penn imagined for the City over 300 years ago. The Center City District along with Urban Engineers, KieranTimberlake, and The OLIN Studio transformed the formerly barren concrete west side of City Hall into the ultra-modern Dilworth Park, which features everything from pop-up shops and free events to an interactive fountain and easy access to public transit. By engaging the community through 60 public meetings, this project reflects a “cosmopolitan canopy" where people from different backgrounds can join together. The Jury cited its creativity, emphasis on physical activities, sustainability, high visitor volume, great social equity, and a feeling of excitement in contrast to historic City Hall.

evo Philly (Philadelphia, PA) – Built on the site of the former postal annex, evo Philly – part of Cira Centre South -- is a 36-story, 850-bed, tower which is currently the tallest operating student housing tower in the country. Developed by Brandywine Realty Trust and designed by Erdy McHenry Architecture, BALA Consulting, Thornton Tomasetti, Pennoni Associates, Integrated Aquatics Engineering, Beam LTD, Cerami & Associates, AKF Engineers, and Roofmeadow, this project consists of 34 floors above grade and two stories below. It provides 474,280 square feet of space including more than 15,500 square feet of amenity space for residents including social events, a business center, a 24/7 two-story penthouse-level fitness center, and the stunning rooftop infinity-edge pool with incredible views of Center City. The Jury liked how the development has helped to blur the lines between University City and Center City, as well as its beautiful clean design, amenities, sustainability and energy efficiency.

Hoover-Mason Trestle (Bethlehem, PA) – Developed by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Bethlehem and designed by Wallace Roberts & Todd, this adaptive reuse project has been a catalyst for economic development and growth through its engagement with the community, including its connection to the adjacent and award winning SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus, as well as its ability to capture Bethlehem’s steel heritage. The Trestle has breathed new life into city placemaking and will continue to grow as new uses and initiatives are added. The Jury appreciated its strong industrial contextual design and execution, a focus on the outdoors, celebration of history, and a complex integration of funding sources.

The Summit (Philadelphia, PA) -- This University City project developed by American Campus Communities (ACC) with Solomon Cordwell Buenz is a 24-story, mixed-use retail and student residential development designed to meet Drexel University’s goals of revitalizing the Lancaster Avenue corridor and the Powelton Village neighborhood, to accommodate enrollment growth, entice undergraduates back to on-campus housing, expand healthy dining options for students and residents, and provide neighborhood retail options. This is the largest project completed by Drexel and ACC to date, and builds on the success of Chestnut Square which won an Award for Excellence in 2015. The Jury cited its outstanding land use both vertical and horizontal; its high quality mix of institutional housing/academia with public sharing of restaurant and open space and, most of all, 100% private financing with no financial participation by Drexel or the public sector.

Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center (Philadelphia, PA)– Nearly 10 years in the making, the Venice island Performing Arts and Recreation Center revitalized an abandoned, flood prone, five-acre site into a vibrant community space, restoring the island between the Manayunk Canal and the Schuylkill River. Designed by Buell Kratzer Powell for the City of Philadelphia, this $46 million project included sophisticated stormwater management and a four-million-gallon underground water storage tank and pumping station to alleviate flooding, all part of making Philadelphia the first city to try to meet EPA regulations primarily through green infrastructure. A deteriorated recreation center was replaced with a 250-seat community center featuring after-school programs, special events, and professional theatrical productions, as well as a children's water garden, sculpture garden, basketball courts, and riverbank restoration. The Jury cited it as an excellent collaboration by City staff and focused outside professionals.

For a full list of 2016’s finalists please visit http://on.uli.org/1WmdTXX

About ULI Philadelphia

The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute whose mission is to provide responsible leadership in the use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, ULI today has more than 38,000 members around the globe representing the entire spectrum of land use and development disciplines. The Philadelphia District Council encompasses around 1,000 members throughout Eastern and Central Pennsylvania, the southern half of New Jersey and the State of Delaware. It is one of the most robust district councils in the country, experiencing strong growth and introducing new initiatives. For more information, please visit www.philadelphia.uli.org

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