If you've been walking, biking, or driving up 16th Street in Center City in the last week or so, it's quite likely that 218 S. 16th St. has caught your eye.
Looking up 16th Street
This four-story building was home to Mi Lah Vegetarian for years until they moved to Ambler last summer, and the retail space has sat vacant ever since. The space continues to sit vacant, but the building looks very different, all of a sudden.
A few months ago, we told you about a five-home project in the works at 6th & Jefferson which is now under construction. Around the corner, at the corner of Randolph & Oxford, demolition has wrapped up and a six home project is on the way. In between these projects, at 1500 N. Randolph St., sits a rather large property that's been sitting vacant for many years. According to historic maps, the Consolidated Cigar Company had a factory here at one point, but it disappeared at some point between the 1960s and 2007.
In the past. Also, this shows how far back the lot goes
With all of the construction happening nearby, it seems like it was only a matter of time before this property caught the redevelopment bug. We passed by the other day and discovered some heave machinery and a hole in the ground, so it seems the day has come. The 30K+ sqft property was listed for sale back in 2014, selling in a few months for $850K. At the end of last year, developers presented a plan to the ZBA to subdivide the property into seven parcels and build six homes.
The construction at 205 Race St. (the project is now called Bridge) has proceeded quickly since we visited last fall. At that point, the construction site was basically a hole in the ground and we were pleased as punch, since the site had enough false starts to cover an entire football season over the last fifteen years. Where there was once a large hole, we now see a large building which will eventually include 146 apartments, over 13K sqft of retail space, and a landscaped terrace on the 5th floor. Check it out:
Today we decided to do some work at The Monkey & The Elephant Cafe in Brewerytown, and we did a quick run around the neighborhood before sitting down to pen our next screed. Twas a good thing we did, as we noticed some construction activity on the northeast corner of 31st & Master. We couldn't really think of what this parcel looked like in the past, but thanks to the magic of Google Maps we discovered that a beat up warehouse was standing here until very recently.
The retail mix has completely changed at the 3rd & Market intersection over the last few years. Turn back the clock to 2011, and you'll find an AT&T Store on the northwest corner, Pizzicato restaurant on the southeast corner, and Shirt and Suit Corner on the northeast and southwest corner, respectively. Not one of those businesses remain at this location today. On the northeast corner, the historic buildings that housed the Shirt Corner were demolished when it was discovered that they were structurally unsound. An apartment building with a ground-floor CVS has appeared in their place. On the northwest corner, the AT&T store moved out last year.
OCF Coffee House coming soon on the northwest corner
OCF Coffee House, owned by the same company that owns this here blog, is set to open its sixth location at 301 Market St. at the end of next month. The shop will offer coffee, light sandwiches, pastries, and smoothies, like most of the other locations. It's a rather small space though, so it'll focus on take-out business.