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Ensemble/Mosaic Announces Plans for Chapel Block, the First Residential Development at the Navy Yard Since the 1996 Base Closure

Ensemble/Mosaic today announced plans to develop the first residential complex to be built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard as part of its agreement with PIDC. The company plans to break ground on the project in 2022 and open the complex in 2024.

“Ensemble/Mosaic is on the cusp of reaching a longstanding, identity-shifting objective – to evolve the Navy Yard into a fully functioning Philadelphia neighborhood,” said Brian Cohen, Senior Vice President, Ensemble. “We are incredibly excited at the prospect of creating a vibrant and diverse residential community so people may further enjoy this unique location and all it has to offer.”

Located at 1200 Normandy Place, the complex, called Chapel Block, will include a seven-story building and two connected six-story buildings. In total, it will offer 611 luxury and mixed-income apartments offering 40 different unit sizes and bedroom configurations, and options for furnished and unfurnished units.

It will also include 75,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor resident amenity space and 26,000 square feet of space for restaurants and retail. All three buildings are designed to meet a minimum of LEED® Silver certification from the United States Green Building Council, providing for a sustainable and healthy living experience.

Design Informed by the Pandemic

“The pandemic was foremost in our thinking as we developed this project, keeping in mind the new realities of how people work, value outdoor access and are concerned about indoor ventilation,” said Leslie Smallwood-Lewis, Founder and Owner, Mosaic. “Home should be every resident’s ‘safe place,’ and our goal has been to incorporate as much as we can of what we have learned in the last 18 months so that residents will be comfortable and secure in their homes here.”

Some of the steps the team has taken include:

  • A significant number of units will include areas to accommodate working from home, with separate offices or built-in work areas.
  • Proximity to three parks: five-acre Central Green with a running track, outdoor table tennis, bocce, cross-fit station, amphitheater, and picnic areas; three-acre League Island Park, a natural and serene park for lounging and working; and eight-acre Marine Parade Grounds, a historic public space that provides fields for sport leagues, food trucks, and large outdoor events.
  • LEED certification with an emphasis on a healthy living environment with high indoor air quality.
  • Expanded building amenity offerings and areas to work from outside of apartments.

Chapel Block: A Community of Three Buildings, Dozens of Options

Chapel Block takes its name from the historic Chapel constructed by the Navy in 1942 on the southeast corner of the block to be developed.  The chapel is now occupied by the Chapel of the Four Chaplains and Memorial Foundation, dedicated to promoting interfaith cooperation and selfless service of individuals and organizations. It honors the moving story of four chaplains who died while saving many lives when The Dorchester, a U.S. Army transport ship (USAT), was sunk in the waters of Newfoundland during World War Two.

“One of the most interesting aspects of developing in the Navy Yard is that we are surrounded by critical U.S. history on a daily basis,” said Cohen. “This is a place filled with stories of bravery and heroism. It is an inspiring location and one we love to share with residents, employees and visitors.”

The seven-story building will be developed on the north end of the Chapel Block site in partnership with Korman Communities under their exciting residential real estate brand, “AVE.”

AVE Navy Yard will feature 265 luxury units, a portion of which will be reserved as flexible-stay, fully furnished apartments offered on a monthly basis for individuals who need a temporary living option. On-demand amenities will include a resort pool, media theatre, fire pit lounge, grilling stations, executive meeting spaces, a golf simulator, music studio, and pet spa.

“We are thrilled to partner with Ensemble/Mosaic on this exciting project,” said Bradley J. Korman, co-CEO of Korman Communities. “Philadelphia is our home, and we are honored to be a part of this incredible opportunity to develop what will become one of the most desirable locations to live, work, and play in the region.”

On the south end of Chapel Block, the two six-story buildings will form a mixed-income project containing 346 market rate and affordable units.  It is designed as two separate structures and will be connected on the ground floor by shared amenities including a fitness center, business center, lounge areas, a game area, a party room with gourmet kitchen, pet spa, and bike storage.  The connected buildings are situated around a private courtyard with lounge seating fire pits and grill stations.

“Chapel Block will change the Navy Yard in many exciting ways. This addition of new  mixed-income residential for the first time since the naval base was closed over two decades ago will serve not only the employees and visitors of the Navy Yard, but everyone who lives on site, too,” said Kate McNamara, PIDC’s Senior Vice President, Navy Yard.

The complex is designed by a partnership of two architectural firms, Philadelphia-based DIGSAU, the design architect, which has designed several buildings in the Navy Yard, and Moody Nolan, the architect of record, headquartered in Columbus, OH. Moody Nolan is the 2021 AIA Firm of the Year and the largest minority owned architecture firm in the country.

“Two exceptional architectural firms have banded together to bring us a design that will change the Navy Yard for decades by creating residential opportunities for people from all walks of life,” said Smallwood-Lewis. “We are excited that they have brought opportunity to many smaller and specialty firms, as more than 50% of the design work is being done by 15 different MBE/WBE-certified firms in Philadelphia and around the country.”

Through its development agreement with PIDC, Ensemble/Mosaic will redevelop 109 acres of land through renovation and ground-up construction, including Chapel Block. The developer will invest $2.6B – with all funds fully committed to ESG (environmental, social and governance) – over the next two decades, of which $1B has been commitment to DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion.)

After the naval base closure in 1996, the City of Philadelphia, PIDC, Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation and master developer of the Navy Yard, and its partners envisioned the redevelopment of the space into a thriving mixed-use campus, restoring it as an economic engine for the city. Over the last two decades, the Navy Yard has attracted 170 businesses employing more than 15,000 personnel.

Ensemble/Mosaic is working with PIDC and the U.S. Navy to complete the technical steps necessary to lift the residential deed restriction on this parcel.

“We thank our partners at the Navy for working with us to on this new development, which will further the Navy Yard’s position as one of Philadelphia’s most unique business campuses and evolving neighborhoods,” added McNamara.

Navy Yard

The Navy Yard is considered the most successful redevelopment of a former military facility in the country and today is a growing community where companies and their employees thrive. Future growth will support up to 10 million square feet of commercial and residential development.

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