Sneak Peek: Aloft hotel opens adjacent to Pa. Convention Center
Published: Aug 21, 2017
By Melissa Romero, Curbed Philadelphia
After more than a year of renovations, the historic Liberty Title building is ready to return to North Broad as a 179-room Aloft Hotel.
As construction crews made some last-minute touches to the hotel ahead of its August 31 grand opening, Curbed Philly got a preview of what’s to come, from millennial-friendly amenities to modern hotel rooms with sweeping city views.
“We’re thrilled to be able to rescue a building as beautiful as this,” said general manager Evan Glenn Evans. “There’s just soul and character here that you can’t always get in a new build.”
The Liberty Title building dates back to the 1920s when it opened as the headquarters for the bank Liberty Title and Trust Company. Designed by Savery & Scheetz, the 21-story building has had various owners over its long history. But its final tenant, the Philadelphia Water Department, left the premises in the 1990s and the building remained vacant ever since.
Developers Realen Properties and HRI properties finally purchased the property in 2016 and embarked on the hotel redevelopment project at 101 N. Broad Street. Its prominent location—a block from City Hall and next to the Convention Center—is what attracted the developers to the site. In fact, the hotel will have a direct connection to the Convention Center.
Today, the 181,000-square-foot hotel mixes the old with the new. Evans says the goal with the new hotel is to create a comfortable atmosphere within a grand, historic building with an eye toward the traveling millennial. “Not stuffy, but comfortable,” he emphasized.
The old-world details are immediately evident past the front doors, where the lobby’s soaring ceiling and massive, 30-foot-tall windows greet visitors.
“I think it’s the most dramatic hotel experiences in the city,” said Evans, who has previously worked at the other hospitality venues throughout Philly, including the Westin Philadelphia, One Liberty Observation Deck, and the nearby Le Meridian.
This impressive space is where much of the building’s original architecture remains on display. Of the developers’ favorite details are the “monumental windows” that look out to its neighboring City Hall, Masonic Temple, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
The team also preserved and restored the original plaster details and crown molding that lines the lobby’s ceilings. The original marble flooring with mosaic tiling also remain.
But coupled with the old-world details are more modern and playful finishes, including midcentury modern furniture, a floor-to-ceiling bookcase, and a WXYZ bar that will be open to the public and serve drinks and light bites.
This modern style continues in the hotel’s 179 rooms, which range in size from 206 to 423 square feet and all come equipped with Netflix and Hulu accounts. There’s a work desk in each room, and nearly all of them are designed to offer city views from their original windows.