September 15, 2021
Developers are hoping to turn the Navy Yard into "a fully functioning Philadelphia neighborhood."
Ensemble Real Estate Investment and Mosaic Development Partners plan to break ground next year on Chapel Block, a three-building, mixed-use complex on Normandy Place. If all goes according to plan, it will open in 2024 as the first residential complex in the 1,200-acre Navy Yard since the naval base closed in 1996.
Named after a nearby chapel built by the U.S. Navy in 1942, Chapel Block will include a seven-story building and two six-story buildings. The complex will feature 611 apartment units and 26,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, according to a blog post on the Navy Yard's website.
"Ensemble/Mosaic is on the cusp of reaching a longstanding, identity-shifting objective – to evolve the Navy Yard into a fully functioning Philadelphia neighborhood," Ensemble Senior Vice President Brian Cohen said. "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."
Ensemble and Mosaic were selected to develop the Navy Yard's remaining 109 acres in July 2020. The companies say they are committed to investing $2.6 billion to transform the area, raising new buildings and converting existing ones into office, residential, life science and commercial spaces situated around parks and recreation trails.
Chapel Block residents will be able to choose between 40 sizes and bedroom layouts for their furnished or unfurnished apartments. Units range from luxury to mixed-income offerings, and many include separate offices or built-in work areas to accommodate the growing number of people working from home amid the COVID-19 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," Mosaic owner Leslie Smallwood-Lewis said. "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."
Chapel Block also will offer 75,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenities for residents. They include a resort pool, media theatre, lounge areas with fire pits, grilling stations, a business center and executive meeting spaces, a party room with a gourmet kitchen, a golf simulator, music studio, game room, pet spas and bike storage.
Developers also are touting the facility's close proximity to three parks: Central Green, League Island Park and the Marine Parade Grounds.
Chapel Block will be designed through a partnership between Philly-based architectural firm DIGSAU, which has worked on other buildings in the Navy Yard, and Moody Nolan, a firm out of Columbus, Ohio.
Ensemble and Mosaic say they're working with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and the U.S. Navy to lift residential deed restrictions on the parcel of land that will become Chapel Block.
Since the U.S. Navy closed its shipyard in the 1990s, the Navy Yard has become home to 170 companies that employ more than 15,000 workers across 7.5 million square feet of office, industrial/manufacturing and research and development space, according to its website.
Among the companies located there: Urban Outfitters, Inc., GSK, Axalta Coating Systems and Jefferson Health. Rite Aid on Tuesday announced plans to relocate its headquarters from central Pennsylvania to the Navy Yard, too.
PIDC acquired control of the Navy Yard in 2000 on behalf of the city and the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development.
Based in Long Beach, California, Ensemble's first project in the Navy Yard was a Courtyard by Marriott hotel that opened in 2014, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. Mosaic, meanwhile, has a history of overseeing more than $200 million in development projects throughout the Philadelphia region.