12th & Filbert Street Garage - Adding Value through Development

Philadelphia, PA




325,000 sf


2001 - 2002



Current Value:


Developed By:

Parkway Corporation




Filbert Street Associates LP

About Filbert Street Associates LP
Filbert Street Associates LP - a Parkway Corporation and Theodore & Maria Bollt joint venture - were owners of a well located parcel of land that had been held as a land bank for development.

The interim parking use not only carried the site, but was also profitable over the hold period of 10 years from 1988 to 1998.

To meet the need for parking for both the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the more than 2,500 hotel rooms within a one-block radius, Parkway designed and developed a 9 level 860-space garage with 30,000 SF of restaurant space at grade. Parkway encouraged the restaurants to include outside seating on the sidewalks, which has resulted in an active streetscape and strengthened the visitors experience in the City.

The large building was designed within the context of the materials and scale of the historic adjacent train shed. Through the use of limestone and brick as the façade materials, the garage provides a high quality image and ambiance that reinforces the neighborhood historic fabric rather than conflicting with it.

Business Challenge
The proposed garage had several programmatic and design requirements that had to be met in order for it to be a success. It needed to have vehicular entrances conveniently located to, and visible from, all the significant parking demand generators. It needed to provide a pedestrian friendly environment for the highly trafficked sidewalks adjacent to the front doors of the Convention Center. The façade design of the building had to respond to the historic content surrounding it. The design of the retail space needed to provide tenants the opportunity to include high quality high ceiling spaces and potential for mezzanines.

Due to its constrained urban site, its complex programmatic requirements, and the need for an upgraded, expertly executed façade treatment, the garage costs were an issue. The high costs to build the garage created a need to maximize both the parking and retail rental revenues and even then left a gap in funding. A source of external funding was needed for the project to progress.

The Solution
The functional design solution for the garage provides speed ramps rising above a 20-foot high retail level at grade without sacrificing a lot of area. Entrances from each of the four main streets were provided, including one ramp that utilizes an adjoining property to rise the 20 feet and a bridge across a rear service street to access the first garage level. Parkway was able to negotiate and purchase an easement for the ramp.


The retail facades are a precast limestone with a regular rhythm of pilasters which provide a strong design framework within which individual tenants have expressed their identities. The limestone is capped by cornices at heights which follow the historic context. In order to close the gap in funding, Parkway sought and received the support of various constituents including the adjacent Reading Terminal Market with whom Parkway negotiated a long-term highly discounted reserved parking solution. The City in turn gave their support by enacting a TIF District and authorizing the use of the incremental real estate taxes as an additional source of debt service dollars.

Value and Benefits Delivered

Parkway created added value.

  • ·         The completed garage gets substantial business from all of the targeted demand generators. Each of the garage entrance ramps are highly utilized, thereby allowing Parkway to capture more than its share of the business. The value of the asset has risen by 5 times from $7m before development to over $35m in 2004 upon income stabilization and $60.0M in 2013.
  • ·         The retail consists mostly of restaurants that have taken advantage of the outside sidewalk dining, mezzanine seating, and impressive interiors that were designed into the plans for the building. The per square foot sales figures are exceptionally high.
  • ·         The resulting streetscape and ambiance is one of a newly created high quality, pedestrian oriented restaurant district for the Convention Center. The streetscape is a benefit to the whole city.
  • ·         The rents achieved by Parkway for the retail space are $7.00 to $10.00 above those in the general neighborhood.