Best Philadelphia Condos- Top Ten for 2009

Much like fashion, restaurants, and bedspreads at Restoration Hardware, the popularity and demand for specific Philadelphia condo buildings does come in and out of vogue. Though essentially a buyers market, the following ten Center City condos have withstood the test of time, and generally garner more interest from buyers than sellers. Usually noted with low inventory levels, a good track record of previous sales, and/or a strong association, these condos rise to the top of the Philadelphia condo market in 2009. In no particular order, here are our picks at for the Best Philadelphia Center City Condo buildings:

Locust Point at 2425 Locust St: With 110 units, on-site parking, and next to the Schuylkill River Jogging Trail, this building really shines. Great value, a terrific sales record, and FHA approved, Locust Point demonstrated it’s desirability by selling out when other buildings in town stood still. Not to mention the integration into a fine residential neighborhood, and proximity to University Of Penn. A great mix of one and two bedroom condos. Common areas have been refinished, and many common elements replaced (windows!) throughout the building. A Gem!

Hopkinson House at 604 S. Washington Sq.: Sitting on the south side of Washington Square, with a mix of studio, one and two bedroom units, The Hopkinson House has a high owner-occupancy ratio, and rental garage parking on-site. All new windows were recently added, and the building has a solid reputation for being well managed. Roof Top pool, and most units have outside balconies. Many corner units, and great light are common for this value oriented high rise. Half the units face Washington Square Park, the other half face sunny south.

The Murano at 2101 Market St: Exceedingly strong curb appeal, 302 units are found inside this high rise condo building with beautiful common areas, swimming pool, friendly front door staff, and parking. Oh, and floor to ceiling windows, great views, and a new pricing structure makes The Murano one of the strongest buys in a Center City condo in today’s market. One of the best on-site gyms, and sunning decks in town, tax abated, and sleek kitchen designs, not to mention the sweeping views. Even on the 9th floor, the views can far exceed the competitors offerings.

Le Grenier at 1034 Spruce St: Sitting on the corner of 11th and Spruce Streets, this mid-rise condo building is stunning both inside and out. A quiet 19 unit association. No two units sit adjacent to each other- all are separated by either a bank of elevators, or common emergency staircases- so you won’t hear your neighbors! Petite one and two bedroom units with a modern hip design, floor to ceiling window. Floors 6 and 7 provide sweeping skyline views. Rental parking across the street. A tastefully appointed non-doorman building with existing tax abatement. Very close to Jefferson Hospital.

108 Arch at 108 Arch St: Sleek, modern and decidedly gorgeous inside and out. One, two, and three bedroom condos with some really hip, modern touches throughout. Reeks of quality, with good ceiling height in all condos, great light, existing tax abatement, and all units (except one) have parking. Nicest front door staff in town. Open kitchens, great closet space, over-sized windows, and a simple yet eye-catching exterior. Elevators open up directly inside the larger condo units which exist above the 5th floor. The scale of each unit gives the sense of space and elbow room and avoids any claustrophobic feelings.

The Palladian at 2138 Lombard St: The Fitler Square area low-rise condo building which you have never heard of. And that can be a good thing. Six units total, each with parking and private outdoor space, capped with two over-sized penthouse units. Nice ceiling height inside each condo unit, fantastic access to I-676, and great neighborhood restaurants within a stones throw, The Palladian offers convenient city living with garage parking in a non-doorman, low rise elevator building. Rarely are units available for sale.

251 S. 24th St: One of the few true loft styled condo buildings west of Broad St. in the Fitler Square area of Center City. All units have parking, existing tax abatement, and offer a “soft loft” approach to city living. Great proximity to the Schuylkill River jogging trail, and not far from Rittenhouse Sq. Rarely available, and when these units do appear, they vanish quickly. A great addition to the area as the style is generally of this mid rise Center City condo building is not too prevalent in the 19103 zip code. Finished in 2002, with a wide variety of sized units. Most buyers bought pre-construction and developer gave quite a bit of latitude in finishing options. No two units look or feel the same.

2201 Cherry St. at 2201 Cherry St: Value packed one and two bedroom condo units in this rarely noticed mid rise condo building sitting on 22nd Street. Though curb appeal is a bit bland, 2201 offers a unique opportunity in the 19103 zip code- value, low condo fees and parking all wrapped up inside a well managed building. Eleven stories tall, clad in white stucco with just a few units per floor. Poplar for its proximity to the business district and easy access to the train station and major highways. All units offer nice light, good closet space, and some units have exceptional views. One of the strongest values in a Center City condo.

Naval Square 2420 Grays Ferry: Giving a nod to suburban styled living within the confines of a gated community, Naval Square with its oasis of trees, grass and future swimming pool offers something for most buyers. From one to three bedroom condos and attach parking, super low tax abated condos, and a well manicured look. Wide latitude in finishing options, very few units are going to be finished the same. You can actually own a bicycle here, and get good use of it without leaving the security of your own private Idaho. And if you enjoy lots of greenery- Naval Square would be a nice place to call home. A welcome addition to the city.

St. James Court-5th/6th-Walnut and Locust: The perfect cross between a modern townhouse and condo living in a Society Hill locale. Upper and lower units- each with it’s own distinct advantages. Lower units have very nice gardens, and upper units have soaring living room ceilings. Rental parking at Independence Place, and many units face the quiet off-street courtyard. Ranging from 1300+ to nearly 1500 sq ft., every units is a two bed, two bath with a small den area overlooking the living room. All units are bi-level, and even upper units have a balcony/outside space. Perfectly adept at customizing into a modern, or more traditional style, St. James Court Condos were built as a low rise supplement to Independence Place. Nice curb appeal and well managed. These late 1970’s units can go strikingly contemporary, to a more muted traditional feel.

Honorable Mention- 10 Rittenhouse: Though how it got such an address remains a mystery, 10 Rittenhouse promises to join this list upon completion. Exceedingly strong location, new construction, on-site parking, and a high average sale price promises to insure a quality of life a lot of Philadelphians will seek. And a lobby that resembles that of the gorgeous 1900 Rittenhouse Square building.

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