Barclay Hotel

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Barclay Hotel - Barclay Condominiums
General information
Location Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia
Address 237 S. 18th Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103
Opening 1929
Closed 1994
Owner Allan Domb Real Estate
Design and construction
Architect John McShain (Barclay Hotel) and Shay Construction (Barclay Condominium)
Other information
Parking located at 18th Street and Walnut Street
Rental and Sales Listings

The Barclay Hotel was located at 237 S. 18th St. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Rittenhouse Square. Opened in October 1929, it was, at one time, the most famous hotel in the city, and was owned by the well-known developer John McShain. After a later owner went into bankruptcy in 1992, the property was sold in 1994 and was converted to condominiums.[1]

The hotel was the site of the FBI's Abscam sting operation in 1980, which exposed corruption in government. Federal agents posing as Arab sheikhs rented a suite here, where they solicited the help of local, state and federal officials.[2]

The hotel was first put up for sale in 1989 for approximately $30 million. In April 1992, owner Barclay Hotel Associates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The property was purchased by Princeton developer Peter Marks for $4.3 million on Monday, October 31, 1994.[1] Construction on the Barclay Condominiums was completed in 2005.[3] The building also has a restaurant on the first floor. William "Billy" Griffiths is the building engineer. He is considered a local legend among the city of Philadelphia building engineers. His city wide fame has forced him to relocate to New Jersey where he can get some well deserved peace.[4][5]

Literary references[edit]

The narrator of Nicholson Baker's novel The Fermata first discovers his ability to "freeze time" while staying at the Barclay Hotel as a child.


  1. ^ a b Belden, Tom (November 5, 1994). "Barclay Will Make Transition To Condos. The Luxury Hotel Was Sold For $4.3 Million. Its Owner Intends To Convert It 'In A First-class Way.'". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia Media Network (Digital) LLC. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Owner Puts The Barclay Up For Sale", May 20, 1989, By Susan Warner,
  3. ^ "Historic Barclay Hotel Condominium". Shay Construction, Inc. Archived from the original on 1 June 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Best Steakhouses in the U.S.: Barclay Prime", Travel + Leisure, March 2013.
  5. ^ Craig LaBan, "Slippage at Barclay Prime", The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 4, 2012.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°56′55″N 75°10′15″W / 39.94874°N 75.17072°W / 39.94874; -75.17072