The Bird is the Word at Elm and Fayette
Just after the new year, we reported that Keystone Property Group had purchased the office building at 125 East Elm Street and was planning to move its corporate headquarters to the building. Keystone Property Group is the company that is proposing to redevelop the area along Fayette between West Elm and West First Avenue with a hotel, office space, a public square, etc.
Today we received a press release with a formal announcement of the purchase and the move, plus the new name for the building on East Elm and the redevelopment area at West Elm and Fayette. The redevelopment project was introduced as Conshohocken One, but is now being branded and marketed as SORA, along with the recently purchased building on East Elm.
We asked the public relations person if SORA stood for something and the reply was that it does not. We looked on Keystone's website and found that it refers to a bird that lives along the Schuylkill River and in Japanese SORA means sky. Here is the explanation from the website:
SORA evokes the idea that operating from this prime location will lead to new heights reached for a person or business. It’s a name that says, “the sky is the limit” and encourages its tenants to soar, to reach their full potential, and to do it all, right here in Conshohocken.
A sora is a type of bird fairly common along the Schuylkill River. Meaning the word sky in Japanese, and sounding like the word “soar,” the name speaks to the heights, rooftop views, and success that will come from doing business at SORA.
Here is the press release from Keystone with the announcement:
Keystone Property Group, a leading real estate developer, manager and investor of mixed-use properties, announced that it has relocated its offices to SORA Conshohocken at 125 East Elm Street in Conshohocken from its former headquarters in Bala Cynwyd. SORA is a multifaceted transit-oriented redevelopment initiative located in the gateway of Conshohocken.
Keystone’s acquisition of the headquarters building represents the fourth commercial property owned and operated by Keystone in the Borough of Conshohocken. A staff of 50 professionals will operate from the new headquarters, while the company operates satellite offices in New York and Miami.
Keystone is currently firming up plans for SORA – formerly coined One Conshohocken – a mixed-use project consisting of four properties within the Conshohocken Redevelopment area. Keystone acquired the land to transform the site into a vibrant public plaza flanked by restaurants, shops, a 200-room hotel and a new Class A, 300,000 square foot office building. The project will enjoy convenient connections throughout Eastern Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, from the adjacent Conshohocken SEPTA train station.
”As our commercial redevelopment footprint continues to expand throughout the Philadelphia metropolitan area, we aimed to identify a new company headquarters that was located in a central hub such as Conshohocken,” said Bill Glazer, President of Keystone. “It was especially important for us to invest in the area nearby SORA, which is slated to serve as the commercial and cultural centerpiece of Conshohocken.”
Keystone’s plan for SORA, in line with the Borough’s comprehensive revitalization strategy for Conshohocken, includes a vibrant public plaza situated in the middle of the development, designed as a community event and gathering space as well as the repurposing and restoration of the 136-year-old Conshohocken Firehouse, as a brewpub with indoor/outdoor dining and event experiences. Keystone will also provide local residents, businesses and visitors with approximately 300 additional free parking spaces onsite.
We are not sure how we feel about the name SORA. It sounds like a South Beach hotel, not the first thing you see when you enter Conshohocken. That doesn't mean that the redevelopment doesn't deserve a solid name, we just aren't sure SORA is it. Since people say you shouldn't critique without offering an alternative, our suggestion is Fayette Commons. With the redevelopment being built around a pubic space, it makes sense.
Let us know what you think in the comments.