St James
Exterior
ST James
Historic Facades and Retail © Mike Verzella
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The St. James

A Premier Residential High-Rise


© Mike Verzella

LF Driscoll constructed The St. James, a premier mixed-use high-rise residential development located in the heart of historic, downtown Philadelphia. It stands 45-stories tall; totals 673,355sf offering 307 high-tech luxury apartments; self parking on floors two through nine for 307 cars; and a mechanical penthouse.

The intricate design of the architectural façade sets the building apart. The Chicago-style, slip form construction consisted of an exposed concrete façade and used 34,100cy of concrete, 4,000-10,000 psi. This is the first time in Philadelphia that a building has used the Chicago-style structure of heavy concrete facades

Situated on a one-acre site, The St. James development also involved the:

  • renovation of a 28,800sf two-story building converting it into offices and restaurant space
  • preservation and conversion of the historic York Row Townhomes into new retail and tenant storage space

Preserving the Historic Landmark

The historic York Row Townhome facades, constructed in 1807, were salvaged. The townhome structures were completely removed, except for the brick facade itself, and were tied into the new tower with a structural steel frame.

It was determined that the existing historic facade could not be temporarily braced from the street side due to utilities under the sidewalk. So we devised a system of bracing diaphragms installed behind the facade to permit demolition of the old structures. The new structural steel was designed and installed through the bracing diaphragms, dictating a reverse sequence of steel erection—top down. Once the new structural steel was installed, including the permanent connections to the facade, the remaining floor structures and bracing diaphragms were removed.

Also, the top 24″ of the facade was unsound due to years of water infiltration and freeze thaw cycles. The façade was removed and reconstructed, reusing the existing face brick. The historic commission permitted the reinstallation of the stone lintels over the windows with supplemental steel lintels for additional structural stability.

St James
St James
Exterior
ST James
ST James
Historic Facades and Retail © Mike Verzella