Why Philly’s new buildings come wrapped in glass and retail

Glass creates transparency, and that’s why Jeffrey Brown, the developer behind the 17-story Bridge building in Old City, wanted to use so much of it. Brown also doubled the width of the sidewalk so his retailers would have maximum exposure.

When completed this spring, Bridge at 205 Race St. will feature 14,000 square feet of retail wrapped around the building, all visible through 16-foot-high, floor-to-ceiling glass.

Most office towers in the city include retail: 2400 Market St. has an unannounced retail component, and the 59-story Comcast Innovation and Technology Center will have a restaurant-bar on the first floor. Retail will also be a fixture at multi-family residential buildings such as the Collins at 1125 Sansom St., 1601 Market, and 2116 Chestnut St. Even the controversial $100 million Toll Bros. condo tower proposed for Jewelers Row is to have 2,600 square feet of retail on the ground floor.

The $120 million development is a joint venture between Berwyn-based LCOR and Brandywine Realty Trust. Its 29 floors include 321 rental apartments, 80 percent of which have been leased, and 25,000 square feet of retail on the first and second floors.

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