City School, a private, independent school based in Philadelphia, has paid $9.075 million to buy the former Palmer School in Northern Liberties to accommodate its expanding enrollment and breathe new life into a building that once housed a now defunct charter school.
The 60,800-square-foot building was shuttered in 2014 when the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Partners Charter School struggled financially and faced questions over its academic achievements. Two years after it closed, the property was scooped up for $6 million by American Investment Partners, a Philadelphia real estate firm that had considered a range of development options for the 1.5-acre site at 910-48 N. 6th St. Ideas ranged from razing the structure and constructing a new mixed-use project to re-using the building.
“We were looking at everything,” said Andrew Yaffe of American Investment. “This turned out to be a good offer and the right timing.”
The property is in a neighborhood that has seen a tremendous amount of residential development activity along with a smattering of restaurants and retailers moving in as well. As a result of all of the development, sites, particularly ones in prime locations, are scarce and highly sought after.
“We had a lot of interest from developers and schools,” said Ken Mallin and Veronica Blum of MPN Realty, who arranged the transaction. “We had a number of offers of which three were very strong and they chose City School because of the caliber of the buyer.”
Though the Northern Liberties building has not been in use for a few years, it’s in good condition and, but for getting furniture, installing technology and making some slight configurations, the City School expects to open its doors there next fall.
-- Natalie Kostelni, Philadelphia Business Journal