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There was a time when the five-acre, campus-like site of Society Hill Towers was just a mess of potatoes, tomatoes, apples, bananas and whatever produce you can think of. Not only was this parcel home to the city’s wholesale-produce center, it was surrounded by a whopping amount of blight. Luckily for the city and future residents, in the 1950s the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, in conjunction with other city authorities, decided to redevelop the area, encouraging the restoration of historical houses and infill construction over the next 25 years. From this, Society Hill Towers were born.
Completed in 1963 and designed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei, the three 32-story buildings are a notable part of the skyline south of Center City. The apartments have views of the Delaware River, Penn’s Landing (hello, 4th of July party), the Ben Franklin Bridge and the city skyline. Initially a rental apartment building, in 1979 it converted to condominiums. There are 624 units in the three buildings and a parking garage (added fee) with 350 spaces. The plaza area surrounding the buildings feels campus-like with beautiful landscaping, a fountain, and a 15,000-square-foot shopping plaza. For an extra fee, residents can use the swim club and well-equipped exercise room, community room with catering kitchen and guest suite.
Individual units all have floor-to-ceiling windows and plenty of them, so even the smaller studio units will offer a bit of a view. Some buyers have joined units to create apartments as large as 2,600 square feet, but most are two bedrooms or smaller. Believe it or not, even with 624 units in the development, it can be hard to find many condo for sale in the buildings. Usually rentals are available for those who want to try the building before they buy.