Lenfest Hall at the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia

Lenfest Hall is a major expansion to the Curtis Institute of Music, providing teaching and practice spaces, an orchestra rehearsal hall, dining and lounge spaces, and 88 student residences. AthenianRazak was hired to replace the previous development manager, inheriting a project that was $7 million over its $65 million budget and facing severe constructability challenges. The new 10-story building was to occupy a challenging site in a sensitive historic neighborhood, where two earlier attempts to obtain approvals for similar projects had failed due to neighborhood opposition. As Development Manager, AthenianRazak guided the project through the entire development process, from zoning and approvals to assembling and managing the design and construction teams, as well as supporting fundraising and financing efforts. After suspending the design process to fill out the project team, we led the team through a redesign and value engineering process that significantly shaved the cost while improving the building’s constructability and functionality. AthenianRazak and Curtis worked closely with neighbors, designers, legal counsel, and city officials to successfully navigate the approval process. We also prepared and administered a $15 million RACP grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and negotiated $25 million in gap financing from PNC Bank.

Lenfest Hall opened—on schedule—in time for the Fall 2011 semester as a LEED Gold facility. The design preserved the historic facades of both townhouses and incorporated them into the new building design. The project was completed $5 million under budget.