If you've eaten in a restaurant lately in Philadelphia, you've probably consumed a food product provided by Exceptional Foods, a local purveyor that's probably best known for its selection of meats. For many years, Exceptional has made its home at 201 E. Allen St., in a large and ugly warehouse just a few steps off of Delaware Avenue. According to a story from Philly Mag though, Exceptional's run in Philadelphia has come to an end, as they've sold their property and are moving their operations to Jersey.
View from the north
Better view of the building
The buyer in this case is Streamline Solutions, a company that has built numerous residential projects around town over the last few years, often in Point Breeze. They paid $2.2M for the property on Allen Street, and it's not entirely clear what they plan to do with the site. It's zoned for multi-family use, and based on the fact that the parcel measures over 17K sqft, the developers could build 48 units here by right. It's also possible they'll opt for town homes or a mix of single-family and multi-family. Anything is possible, really, and nearby projects provide examples of different possibilities.
Last week, developer Max Glass presented this project to SOSNA in an information-only meeting, sharing details about the project we didn't know previously. When we covered the property several months ago, we assumed that the project called for retail on the ground floor and apartments above, but we were mistaken. Instead, the plans call for commercial space on the 2nd and 3rd floors, with a single apartment on the top floor. Possible uses on the 2nd and 3rd floor include office, yoga studio, and various other services, excepting massage. As for the retail space, the intended tenant is a vegan pizza place from New York called Double Zero. This place specializes in wood fired plant based pizza, while also offering a number of small plates. No question, it would be a fine addition to the growing vegan scene in this town.
The north side of the 700 block of Lehigh Avenue is home to a suburban style shopping center with a Save-a-Lot, a Family Dollar, a Kicks USA, and a Burger King. Generally, we wouldn't care for such a shopping center, as we prefer smaller businesses that are integrated into the urban fabric that don't include a sea of parking. From what we understand though, people who live nearby deeply appreciate the existence of this shopping center, not only because it adds amenities to the neighborhood, but because of what it replaced when it was constructed a couple years ago.
Current view from Lehigh Avenue
View from a few years ago on Lehigh Avenue
It was back in 2013 that we first covered this property, also providing the history of the site. Briefly, a gorgeous school was constructed here back in 1903 in the Collegiate Gothic Revival style, and this school eventually evolved into Northeast High School. As the condition of the school began to deteriorate and the neighborhood became more diverse, Northeast High moved to a location in the Northeast in 1957, taking along the school's history and most of its white students. The racially motivated nature of this move was not lost on the families that remained at the school, which was renamed Edison High.
Across the street from the Main Street UA 6 sits a collection of old industrial buildings that, until relatively recently, looked like they had been sitting abandoned for years. Workshop of the World tells us that this property, 3737 Main St., was home to the Wilde Yarn Mill, with the first building constructed back in 1884. Remarkably, the mill was still in operation, though in a limited capacity, until 2008. As we said, from looking at the property, you would not have expected this to be the case.
In the past
Over four years ago, we told you that a developer had designs on redeveloping the property to residential use, with plans for 45 apartments and 45 parking spots. Then it was radio silence on the property for quite some time. Sure enough, a new developer stepped in after a couple of years, purchasing the property from the previous group. The new owner, Barzilay Development, has plenty of experience in the adaptive reuse business, having converted the former Saint Matt's on Grays Ferry Avenue to the Sanctuary Lofts, among other projects. It was at some point within the last year that work got moving on the property, and the effort shows, especially with a staggering number of new windows.
Dranoff Properties has played a significant role in redeveloping South Broad Street over the last decade, with Symphony House, 777 South Broad, and Southstar Lofts all adding height and density to Philadelphia's most famous thoroughfare. Tonight, near neighbors will learn about another proposed Dranoff project, this time at the corner of Broad & Pine. The low rise building that's currently at the corner functions mostly as a parking garage, and has a Starbucks on the first floor. The building has been there for many years and has served a similar purpose over a long period, as these photos would indicate:
Back in the 1920s
Better view of the property from the 1920s
Remarkably, the building is still intact and looks pretty similar to the way it looked almost a century ago.