These three 32-story buildings are situated on five acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, on South Second Street between Walnut and Spruce Streets, overlooking Penn’s Landing and the Delaware River.
Amenities include a 15,000 square-foot shopping plaza, a swim club, a professionally equipped exercise room, a community room with a fully equipped kitchen, a hospitality suite to accommodate guests of residents, and a two-story, underground garage with capacity for 350 automobiles.
During the Colonial era, this section of Philadelphia was referred to as “Society’s Hill.” The name was derived from the Free Society of Traders,an early form of stock exchange,which had offices and warehouses on nearby Front Street. The area had always been a commercial district. Just prior to the Towers’ development, it was the site of the main wholesale fruit and produce center for the city of Philadelphia.
In the late 1950s, Society Hill was targeted for restoration by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, in cooperation with the Redevelopment Authority. Part of the restoration included the construction of Society Hill Towers and a group of adjacent town houses, all designed by architect I. M. Pei. The project earned the Progressive Architecture Award for Design, in 1961. The buildings were completed in 1963.
The Towers complex was a rental community until its conversion to a condominium in 1979, giving tenants who enjoyed the advantages of urban living the opportunity to buy their apartments. Key incentives for their decisions included the superb waterfront location, spectacular views of the city, and attractive purchase options. Today, the Society Hill Towers is 100% owned by residents or investors who lease their units to renters.
In 1980, owners assumed complete control of the condominium operation and elected their first Council. Owners vote annually for a Council of seven members who have the authority to establish policy for the community. General meetings of owners and residents are held periodically to discuss issues of interest, review budgets and financial statements, and elect Council members.
Residents of Society Hill Towers and residents of the larger Society Hill neighborhood share common pleasures and enjoy life in one of America’s urban treasures.
Society Hill (Front St-7th, Walnut St-South St) is an affluent, virtually commercial free neighborhood inhabited by Philly’s well-to-do. Consisting of restored colonial, federal and Georgian townhomes along tree-lined streets. Many of Society Hill’s sections include cobblestone blocks containing the largest concentration of original 18th and early 19th-century architecture of any place in the United States which has prompted Forbes to name this area one of the most exclusive enclaves in Americ. Much like Beacon Hill in Boston, Society Hill is noted as a charming district with cobblestone streets bordered by brick rowhouses in Federal and Georgian style. The district is named after the 18th century Free Society of Traders, which had its offices at Front Street on the hill above Dock Creek. Located close to both the Delaware River and Philadelphia’s civic buildings, including the Independence Hall, the neighborhood soon became one of the city’s most populous areas. Historic buildings in Society Hill include the Society Hill Synagogue, built in 1829 as a Baptist church by Philadelphia architect Thomas U. Walter, one of the architects of the United States Capitol in Washington, DC. Residents are zoned to the General George A. McCall School for grades Kindergarten through 8 and Furness High School for high school. Also located in Society Hill is the Saint Peter’s School, considered to be the most exclusive private elementary school in Philadelphia. It was formed in 1834 and was originally part of St. Peter’s Church, erected in 1761.