Hamilton Court: A Turn of the Century Gem Gets a 21st Century Makeover

Jan 28, 2019 6 months ago

You may have noticed some new additions to the streetscape on the south side of Chestnut Street between 38th and 39th Streets. Affectionately nicknamed “The Spaceship” by Post Brothers, the site’s developers, the decidedly modern architecture of Hamilton Court’s recently completed amenity center is hard to miss. The eye-catching design is meant to draw the gaze, while the ground-level commercial space is intended to activate street life on a previously quiet stretch of Chestnut Street. Additionally, new amenities for Hamilton Court’s residents – including a pool, hot tub and 2,000 square-foot fitness center on the upper level – are already attracting excited new tenants.

Built in 1901 as a luxury apartment complex, the original Hamilton Court’s Venetian Gothic masonry design stands in stark contrast to the newly added glass and steel frame. Developed as a playground for the city’s well-to-do at the turn of the century, it featured grand lobbies and public spaces and a U-shaped design that looked out on a fountain and courtyard. The building was converted into student housing in the 1970s, and in that transition the finer details of the complex – including the public spaces – were built over:– lobbies were turned into storage, and the former fountain and courtyard were replaced with an asphalt lot.

When Post Brothers acquired Hamilton Court in 2015, their vision was to bring the student housing complex into the 21st century, not only by renovating the apartment units, hallways, elevators and other mechanicals, but also by providing world-class amenities and reactivating long-dormant public spaces. They collaborated with architect Coscia Moos to create a new space to realize this vision. The result was the modern and timelessly designed amenity center. Residents now enjoy updated apartments, with top-of-the-line finishes, newly redesigned common spaces, a state-of-the-art gym, and roof deck, which includes the pool, an outdoor barbecue area, and ping pong tables.

Hamilton Court offers residents and University City neighbors alike new opportunities to interact with one another and support local businesses. The first Hamilton Court eateries opened in the fall, with Steve’s Prince of Steaks and Ice NY (rolled ice cream) leading the way for five more retailers to follow in the coming months. Zara Brow Bar also opened in late 2018, while Halal Guys and Bon Chon, a Korean fried chicken concept, are both set to open their doors in the first quarter of 2019. Further afield, Tea-Do, a bubble tea and Asian snack shop, Access Karaoke and Paris Baguette will round out the retail mix.

In the meantime, the once-paved courtyard which now surrounds the amenity center is open to the public for relaxation and recreation. The space has been lushly landscaped and features games such as Baggo, Spikeball and Jenga, as well as many benches for a quick rest as you’re walking through the neighborhood. Post Brothers’ redevelopment of Hamilton Court exemplifies the thoughtful and dynamic ways that University City’s commercial and residential spaces are being reimagined to engage our vibrant community.

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