Logan Square

It's a little scary from the 51st floor

By now, perhaps you've heard of Skygarten, the "beer garden" at 1717 Arch St. on the 51st floor of Three Logan Square. We like beer, we enjoy the occasional beer garden, and we happened to have an event there so we checked it out earlier this week. For those wondering there was indeed beer there. But we confess, we didn't see much of a garden. What we did see was an amazing view of the city and a spectacular look at the ongoing construction at the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center.

Amazingly, it seems we haven't checked in on this major project in quite some time, since shortly after construction began. As you've probably noticed if you've walked around this area at any point recently, this building is chugging along rather impressively. Check out the progress, as viewed from the 51st floor of the building next door:

Papa Johns coming back?

Papa John's offered better ingredients and better pizza at 2100 Market St. for quite awhile, but closed their doors a couple years back. The building has sat vacant ever since, though an LLC related to Brandywine Realty Trust purchased the property as part of a larger assemblage last year. A reader gave us the heads up the other day that construction is now taking place here, with a fence surrounding the property and the retail space apparently gutted. Permits indicate a take-out restaurant is coming, and we wonder whether Papa John's will be making a return.

Perhaps until someone else builds it

You may not realize it, but the western section of the Logan Square neighborhood was once dominated by industrial use. This makes a ton of sense if you think about it, as the proximity to both rail lines and the river would have made this area very attractive to manufacturers back in the day. In modern times, the neighborhood has transitioned to primarily residential use (and museums of course), and many of those old sites have been transformed into apartment buildings, like Park Towne Place, the Riverside Presbyterian Apartments, and Edgewater Apartments.

GW Bromley map from 1910

But some of the old industrial sites have remained undeveloped, with the surface parking lot at 139 N. 23rd St. being a prominent example. You can see in the image above, this site was an iron foundry for many years, and also included a number of small buildings that could have been residences for foundry employees. By the 1950s, we can see that the property was getting worn down. The foundry was demolished at some point after the early 1960s.

Looking south from 23rd & Race in 1954

Today, it looks like this:

Nice looking project, but is there a market?

There's a small commercial building at 15th & Hamilton, on the eastern edge of the campus for the Community College of Philadelphia, which will soon be on the outs. Had things broken differently, this site could have been the backyard of Philadelphia's second casino, but instead it will be home to roughly five-hundred new units of student housing. Considering the current situation, just about any change would represent an upgrade. Well, aside from a casino.

Current view from 15th Street
Current view from 16th Street

Last week, Philly.com reported that CCP will be teaming up with Radnor Property Group to construct two new 11-story buildings on this site with an eye toward attracting international students (who somehow pay three times as much as American students). These buildings, designed by BLT Architects, will include parking and a retail component as well. We're perhaps most pleased about the mid-rise scale of the buildings, it seems we don't see too much new construction of this size in Philadelphia.

What do you think?

When we shared the news yesterday that the building at 208-12 N. 21st St., formerly home to the Please Touch Museum, would be demolished, many people commented with disappointment that this excellent building will soon be lost. At the time that we wrote the story, we didn't know much about the project except that it would mean the construction of eight new homes - we didn't even know who was developing it.

Current view

Today, a reader reached out, sending along a presentation packet for this project. They told us that US Construction is behind the project, and JKRP Architects have done the design work. Check out the renderings: