News & Stories

Camden’s Comeback – URBANLAND

April 11, 2016 – by Mike Sheridan

When developer Carl E. Dranoff first drove across the Ben Franklin Bridge to the Camden, New Jersey, waterfront to view a possible site for luxury housing, he was dumbfounded. Spread before him were 20 acres (8 ha) of beautiful, flat, undeveloped land directly across from downtown Philadelphia with stunning views of the city’s skyline.

“A giant red-brick structure that had been vacant for over ten years—RCA Victor Building Number 17—dominated the waterfront,” recalls the chief executive officer of Philadelphia-based Dranoff Properties. “Next to the boarded-up building, I saw tracks being laid for a new light-rail system with two stations. I saw the adjacent campus of Rutgers–Camden with 7,000 students and the growing nearby colossus of Cooper Hospital, the city’s largest employer and now a full-fledged teaching hospital rivaling the great institutions across the river in Philadelphia. I saw a structure perfectly suited for historic conversion—a big, brawny building with huge windows, high ceilings, and amazing architectural details. I saw the beginnings of the Victor—341 apartments plus retail and parking.”

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