A soaring tower designed for seniors to rise in Center City

A soaring tower designed with aging baby boomers in mind is coming to a prime Center City intersection. 

A building permit filed by developer Brickstone Realty last week detailed a 300-unit residential structure, including 60 assisted-living beds, and an 84-car underground garage. The 24-story project will rise on S. 12th Street at Sansom, replacing a two-story Park America garage that will be demolished. 

The building, to be ultimately owned and operated by Benchmark Senior Living, will also include 80 bike parking spots and retail space on the ground floor.  

John Connor, a principal at Brickstone, said the luxury complex would be age-restricted to residents 62 years or older, tapping a growing demographic of deep-pocketed retirees.

“The Baby Boomer cycle is aging out. There's an unbelievable demand for these kinds of units,” Connor said. “It’s been successful in other formats, suburban formats...But it’s time for that industry to move into the urban experience.”

He described the project as a “highly-amenitized building” and said that Brickstone is betting big on explosive demand for luxury senior housing, including assisted living and “memory care” for more infirm residents. Plans submitted to L&I showed two loading areas cut into Sansom Street, a two-lane garage exit on 12th Street, but no obvious retail space.

The development would not be the first private age-restricted building downtown Philly, but it would be one of the larger such projects.

Connor said he sold his own suburban home after 30 years on the Main Line in favor of smaller home in downtown Philadelphia where shops and restaurants are in walking distance.

“My children were long gone,” he said. “And it’s just a completely different lifestyle.”

This article has been updated since its initial publication to reflect details from blueprints obtained from L&I.

About the author

Ryan Briggs, Data Reporter

Ryan Briggs is WHYY's data reporter.  He works on the PlanPhilly team and across the WHYY newsroom on investigative features. Before joining WHYY, he covered politics, criminal justice and government policy since 2011. He has worked as a staff reporter for Next City, the Philadelphia City Paper, and City & State PA, while contributing stories to a variety of other news outlets as a freelancer, including WHYY.

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    Photo Credit: Emma Lee/WHYY

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