A rendering of a mixed-use project slated for 1499 South Christopher Columbus Blvd. — Courtesy: Silver Arch Capital Partners
By Joshua Burd
Silver Arch Capital Partners has closed on a $15 million loan to help a developer jumpstart a mixed-use waterfront project in South Philadelphia, the Hackensack-based lender announced.
In a news release this week, Silver Arch said the land loan has allowed its client to purchase two of six parcels at a long-vacant lot at 1499 South Christopher Columbus Blvd. The deal paves the way for a 22.4-acre redevelopment, which calls for up to 235 luxury townhomes along the Delaware River, boat slips, outdoor recreational activity and a riverfront cafe.
“South Philadelphia is becoming a vibrant area where people want to live, work and shop,” said Jeffrey Wolfer, CEO of Silver Arch Capital Partners. “Putting this vacant lot to good use will add tremendous value to this growing area of the city.”
The deal figures to spur a 30.4-acre site that has been eyed by developers for some 25 years. Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein first purchased the waterfront property in 1993, Silver Arch said, before it was then acquired by Bally’s Entertainment.
Bally’s eventually traded the property to Foxwoods Resort and Casino, which partnered with several Philadelphia-area investors to finance the construction and operation of a casino on the site, the firm said. But Foxwoods abandoned the project amid fierce opposition from the city.
Blatstein re-acquired the property in 2014 and divided it into multiple parcels, two of which were developed with an Aldi grocery store and a Wawa convenience store, the news release said. Wolfer touted the potential of the remaining land and the appeal for Silver Arch to participate in the deal, “even though banks and conventional lenders generally will not lend on land.”
“It’s not every day that an empty waterfront property in a major population center is available for development,” he said. “There is a clear recipe for success for a mixed-use development in this up-and-coming neighborhood.”
“This area is particularly valuable because it’s the only developable piece remaining among the 1.2 million square feet of retail space along Christopher Columbus Boulevard,” Wolfer added. “Brand new-housing located in an in-demand neighborhood, coupled with powerhouse retail amenities and ease of accessibility from major thoroughfares, will help push this area to the top of the Delaware Valley’s most sought-after neighborhood list.”