East Market Master Plan

The Challenge

Client National Real Estate Development
Size 4.3 Acres
Role Architect, Master Planner

At the start of this six-week urban planning/design study, our collective challenge was to think big and create something wonderful. At the time, the working metaphor was a sixth square for Center City Philadelphia – Girard Square! Through benchmarking, analysis, multiple sets of drawings, and vigorous discussions, we affirmed the three-square blocks bound by Market, Chestnut, 11th and 12th Streets as an armature for tremendous real estate development and smart urban planning.


High energy interior streets and terraces

Placemaking on the public streets is always essential and place-making on the internal, non-dedicated streets is critical to this work. Careful determination in section, which informed plan, created designed vistas, affording an urban energy throughout the property, for residents, workers, guests and visitors.

Development Pads, Zoning & Phasing

Development pads

Available floor area ratios and the applicable zoning envelopes posed no constraint to the project, especially when considering that market demand will absorb but half of the highest calculated opportunity.

Subject only to the drivers of available public funds, physical needs of loading and demand for parking, development phasing has proceeded to suit the marketplace. The result was methodically spread over six phases. Our study expected a beginning at 11th and Market Streets, with the next phases growing to either the west or south, or even jumping diagonally across the property.

Infrastructure, Parking & Podium

Development section

In/out truck access was best located at the “back door” to the site - 12th and Ludlow Streets - with the ultimate determination of below-grade loading docks. Parking access was co-located with truck access with all car parking placed within the footprint of prospective Market and Chestnut Street building(s). The number of docks was determined by total program needs. Overall zoning-required and perceived-demand for parking can be accommodated on-site.

Component Buildings

Girard Building Study: Left Office, Right Residential

As shown herein and originally planned, all six parcels may be configured for a variety of uses – residential, hospitality, or commercial office. Sample test fits were illustrated in the appendix of the study. Each parcel would host ground-floor retail and other amenities, with a second prospective retail/amenity floor above grade.


Digital Signage

Market Street digital signage is ordinance-compliant in size and locations as is prevision for tenant specific signage. Programmable architectural lighting knits the elements into lucrative whole.


Known today as East market, this project is the most significant Center City real estate development project in decades, a strong urban design that is transforming the Market Street experience east of City Hall.