Million dollar homes going up south of South Street

Parke Place is located just off the Avenue of the Arts.  Credit: Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia Parke Place is located just off Avenue of the Arts.
Credit: B. Krist/Visit Philadelphia

Center City’s fringe neighborhoods have been hot for a few years now, with eager buyers shelling out more and more money for new-construction and rehabbed homes in Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Graduate Hospital and other newly coveted areas. But when we heard about townhouses priced at more than $1 million south of South, we took notice.

Parke Place townhouses at 13th and Bainbridge — which puts them in the Hawthorne neighborhood — start at $1.25 million, and along with that price tag comes a list of top-notch amenities. But the project’s highlight is the sheer space: Each home has more than 4,000 square feet, with 15-foot ceilings and an open floorplan. Parke Place also features green roofs, two-car garage parking — even an unexpected mode of transport. “I found that a lot of people moving into the city were empty nesters moving in from the Main Line,” says Donovan Clarke of Clarke Real Estate, the project’s developer. “If you want space, typically you have to go high, which means stairs. Lots of stairs. I solved that for residents by installing an elevator.”

Like mega-developer Carl Dranoff, who has lined the southern end of Avenue of the Arts with Symphony House, 777 South Broad and the upcoming Southstar Lofts, Clarke sees a lot of potential in the area. He already has a condo building, Le Fleur, on Bainbridge between 12th and 13th streets, and there’s a third development in the pipeline he’s keeping mum about for now. “It’ll be the same general area, but it’s a couple of months off so I need to be tight-lipped about it,” says Clarke. “Short of Dranoff, I’m doing the most in that little section there. It’s proving to be lucrative. The fact that it wasn’t developed earlier is astonishing to me.”

As for the future of the neighborhood, Clarke is optimistic that his homes are situated in a spot that will continue to grow in popularity. “[Hawthorne is] within five blocks of the heart of Center City,” he says. “You’ll always have the high-paying jobs downtown, and you’ll always have people who want to walk to work.”

What’s in a name?
Parke Place has a nice, Monopoly kind of ring to it. But the name isn’t just about affluence; it’s a nod to the site’s former use as a parking lot. “When I do a project I try to take some elements of what the name was,” says Clarke. As for Le Fleur, “that was a flower shop,” he says.

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