Ritz Carlton residences dedicated

June 8, 2009 5:18:28 PM PDT
It is Center City living in the lap of luxury, on the scene of one of Philadelphia's worst tragedies.City officials and developers cut a cake together to celebrate the opening of the tallest and most expensive residential building in the City of Philadelphia.

The Residences at the Ritz Carlton now occupy the former site of the Meridian Bank Building, across from City Hall. Three firefighters died in the Meridan blaze in February 1991.

Getting the $285-million project built was tough. Selling the condos in this economy could be tougher, but developer Craig Spencer says he's not worried.

"We've signed eight new contracts this year, expect to do 20 to 25 by the time the year is over and the last part of it is we've planned this project with time to be safe so we have 5 years to sell it out."

Prices for the 270 units start at $550-thousand and go up to $12-million. People who live there get all the amenities that Ritz-Carlton hotel guests enjoy plus a private gym, lap pool, top-of-the-line appliances and incredible views from every room of the luxury condos.

Helen and Burt Laman, the first people to move in; say they love their new home.

"The kitchens and bathrooms our state-of-the-art they're a pleasure to use and we love the fact of the dog park," said Helen.

"We like the whole facility and the place is not like an apartment we consider our home," said Burt.

The project isn't quite completed yet the developers are planning to contribute to the renovation of Dilworth Plaza across the street and City Hall and they're also going to be erecting a memorial for the firefighters who died in the blaze.

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