SoNo, which stands for South Northern Liberties (a bit of an oxymoron, I know) is a new, hip, and creative work space that may be the anchor that Spring Garden Street (East of Broad) has been waiting for. Planned to replace Destination Maternity on 5th and Spring Garden, SoNo (based on the renderings) is going to be one cool project!
Creative office space options are popping up all over Philadelphia. We at Copper Hill Real Estate, make our home at Pipeline Philly. Industrious is another one that has recently entered the Philly marketplace, in addition to, Impact Hub, The Hive, and Indy Hall, to name a few. Even the old Finnigan’s Wake (also on Spring Garden) may be looking to transition into a co-working facility. These modern, creative spaces are shaping the new mold for today’s mobile work environment.
Okay, back to SoNo…
Philadelphia is a vertical city, however SoNo will be a horizontal project offering a campus vibe. Alliance Partners HSP purchased the land from Destination Maternity in the fall of 2014 for $13 million. Wanting to bring something different to the Philadelphia scene, Alliance began touring the facilities of major Silicon Valley players in an effort to grasp an edge. Alliance has begun marketing SoNo nationally to various tech firms and has supposedly received quite a bit of interest.
The space will be chocked full of amenities. To read more about the project and to see both video and renderings of SoNo, then please check out this Philly Mag article for further info. You won’t be disappointed.
Spring Garden Street is significantly nicer west of Broad Street than it is east of Broad Street. East of Broad Street, Bufad and Llama Tooth are the only two establishments that I can currently think of (sorry if I’m neglecting someone) that I’d really be interested in patronizing, which says a lot considering there are roughly 14 blocks east of Broad on Spring Garden Street.
There are some great projects in place that will certainly help the transition of Spring Garden Street, as well as, the surrounding area. I think most of us have read about the Rail Park and the Spring Garden Street Greenway (if not you can click on them to learn more). There’s also the conversion of the Thaddeus Stevens School into boutique apartments that will be taking place at the corner of Broad and Spring Garden. These projects are awesome, and I’m an advocate of all three, but I think the development of SoNo will have the biggest impact on Spring Garden.
There are different elements that drive a neighborhood. Typically, it starts with the social scene. Usually a bar, restaurant, coffee shop, etc. opens and since people are hanging out in that area often enough, they’ll decide to move-in while rent is still cheap. As the social scene of a neighborhood develops, you’ll begin to see the housing market change. There are more renovations, more construction, etc. which ultimately drives prices up and leads to gentrification. Proximity to other desirable areas/neighborhoods, of course, is also a key factor. However, jobs are what solidify a neighborhood, and when you add 150,000+ square feet of some of the coolest office space the city has to offer, then you’re helping to assure the success of that area.
I believe that SoNo is the project that will take the eastern half of Spring Garden Street to the next level. Once it’s up and operational, you know that bars/restaurants/cafes/retail space will want to be close by, and you’ll start to see a makeover on Spring Garden.