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Presidential City is readied for a new term

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Twelve stories above City Avenue, Michael Pestronk is standing in a penthouse apartment, looking out over the Schuylkill toward Manayunk.


The building, one of four in the 1,000-unit Presidential City apartment complex, is the Washington, which has undergone a top-to-bottom renovation by Pestronk and his brother, Matthew, known corporately as Post Bros.

 

Presidential City, at 3900 City Ave., was built between 1951 and 1953 by John McShain, a Philadelphia-born contractor known as the “Man Who Built Washington” (the nation’s capital, that is) because of the number of buildings there with which he was involved.



In December 2012, when Post Bros. bought the complex for a reported $51 million, the buildings “had been for sale for a long time,” Pestronk said, although for part of the time Presidential City “was under contract to a few others.” The buildings “were at the end of their usefulness,” and others were proposing “lipstick renovation” rather than $200 million worth of gutting and retrofitting to suit the 2015 rental market, he said.

 

“Everything was too dated,” Pestronk said.

 


The brothers saw a demand for “adult-size apartments” that they could meet with a complete remake of Presidential City. “Apartment homes” is what the multifamily industry calls them.


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