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Washington Square’s Majestic Art Deco Building, The Ayer, To Be Converted To Luxury Condominiums

BLUE BELL, PA, October 14, 2005

Redevelopment Project to Set A New Standard For Modern Living In A Historic Setting
Blue Bell, PA – October 14 – The Goldenberg Group, Inc. and Brown Hill Development, Inc. today announced plans to redevelop the historic N.W. Ayer Office Building at 210 West Washington Square in Philadelphia into high-end, residential condominiums. The building will be called “The Ayer.”

The Ayer promises to be a unique and exciting residential development, combining superb location and an architectural legacy unmatched by any other Philadelphia residence. With its rich history, grand style, and superior views, The Ayer will extend Philadelphia’s ongoing lifestyle renaissance. Easily accessible to Philadelphia’s historic district, The Ayer is within walking distance of great dining, entertainment and cultural activities in Old City and Center City.

The lower floors offer an intimate setting, close to the square and the activity of the neighborhood. The upper floors offer views of the Ben Franklin Bridge, Society Hill Towers, the Delaware River and Center City. The Ayer will feature a mix of one, two and three-bedroom units, with bi-level units on the penthouse floors. Parking will be offered in the building accessed by around the clock valet service.

“Washington Square is Philadelphia’s preeminent historic community and continues to be one of the premier places to live,” said Ken Goldenberg, President and CEO of the Goldenberg Group. “I have always loved this building. With its unique architecture and unrivaled potential as a residence, we know this will soon be one of Philadelphia’s most exclusive addresses.”

The History
The Ayer, a 13-story art deco building, was originally built in 1929 as the headquarters of N.W. Ayer & Sons, which was the first advertising company in the United States. Designed by Philadelphia architect Ralph Bencker, also known for The Rittenhouse Plaza, the Ethical Society building, and the Horn and Hardart chain, the building is considered a monument to advertising and the Age of Art Deco. Built of Indiana Limestone, it features large Egyptian style deco sculptures at the top of the building on all four sides and bronze doors at the entrance facing Washington Square. The building became a mixed-use office building in 1972, when N.W. Ayer relocated its headquarters to New York City.

The Location
Washington Square is one of Philadelphia’s five squares originally designed by William Penn in 1682. Spanning 6.4 acres and located in the southeast side of the city, Washington Square is one of only two residential squares in Philadelphia. In 1815, Washington Square was transformed into an “arboretum” park with an unusual variety of approximately 60 different species of trees that still stand today. In 1952, the National Park Service oversaw the remodeling of Washington Square and the construction of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Today, the National Park Service oversees and cares for the Square.

The Project
The Ayer will have approximately 56 condominium units, featuring 12 to 14-foot ceilings with magnificent views of Washington Square as well as the entire city landscape. There will be one, two, and three bedroom residences with bi-level penthouses and will range between 1,000 square feet and 3,500 square feet. Other planned amenities will include high-end cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, marble and wood flooring, underground parking, 24-hour valet and concierge service, town car service, and individual storage facilities.

“The Ayer stands out as one of Philadelphia’s most distinctive architectural masterpieces, and is located in one of the City’s premier neighborhoods,” said Greg Hill, President of Brown Hill Development. “There is no better redevelopment opportunity in Philadelphia, and we’re thrilled to be a part of the renaissance of The Ayer while preserving its historic attributes. Our experience with Old City 108 on Arch Street has given us unique knowledge of what people in the higher end of the market look for in condos. With The Ayer, we plan to take our vision of luxury urban living to Washington Square.”

Laurie Phillips of Prudential Fox & Roach will serve as the exclusive agent-broker for the building. Phillips has more than 24 years of real estate experience and has been awarded the Diamond Award, Platinum Award, Top of the Rock and Chairman’s Circle. Polatnick Zacharjasz Architects in collaboration with Wesley Wei Architects, both award-winning Philadelphia based firms, will serve as the design team to bring out the full potential of the residences.

“The Ayer is an incredibly noble building with well-designed public spaces,” said Mr. Wei. Our vision is to complement the details of the existing architecture with modern sensibilities and modern materials that are respectful of the current interior and exterior. Ultimately, The Ayer will offer a quality of space and light that is unique in the Philadelphia marketplace.”

The project is estimated to cost approximately $50 million.

“The Ayer is a magnificent building. The lobby and its detail are breathtaking and embody a rich history unique to Philadelphia and its position as the first in advertising. Upon entering the lobby, you realize that you have arrived in a special place, a grand place,” said David Mercuris, Development Director for The Ayer. “This will be a truly exceptional home for those looking for a very urban experience with wonderful amenities.”

For more information about The Ayer, visit

The Goldenberg Group
Headquartered in Blue Bell, Goldenberg owns and manages 4.5 million square feet of space with an additional 2.5 million square feet in various stages of development. The members of the Goldenberg Group are adept at conceiving of and successfully developing large, complex real estate projects. Areas of concentration include: retail and “power” shopping centers, center city “urban” projects, community revitalization projects, residential projects and acquisitions for renovation and/or conversion. Recently, The Goldenberg Group announced plans with Clear Channel Theatre Management to restore the last standing art Deco theatre, located at 19th and Chestnut Street in Philadelphia.

Brown Hill Development
Brown Hill Development, based in Philadelphia and New York City, seeks to redefine the residential development industry. Brown Hill delivers high-quality, design-driven projects to savvy and sophisticated users, those typically under-served by today’s traditional, more conventional development companies. As a result, Brown Hill Development has undertaken some of the more distinct and esteemed projects in the Northeast, including the award-winning “Porter House Condominiums” in the meatpacking district of Manhattan and “Old City 108 Condominiums” in Philadelphia’s historic district.