Back in 2011, plans emerged for the Franklin Institute to expand for the first time in decades. The most interesting part of the museum's expansion is a kinetic "Shimmer Wall," created by artist Ned Kahn. We passed by yesterday, and shot the video. We recommend visiting to museum and the new Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion soon, perhaps on a warmer but windier day.
In 2008, bold plans emerged for 1601 Vine St. that would have involved two mixed-use towers with over 500 residential units, a 150-room hotel, a Best Buy, and a relocated Whole Foods. According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, that plan fell apart as the recession hit and large-scale development mostly disappeared for a couple of years. And so, this large surface parking lot has regrettably remained as such for over half a decade. But not for long, according to the Inquirer.
Yesterday, a blown transformer cut off power for a good chunk of the northwestern sections of Center City, and normal traffic patterns were badly disrupted. As a result, we were diverted down 15th Street heading south through town, and came upon an interesting development opportunity we'd never noticed before.
305 N. 15th St. is tucked into a challenging spot. Just to the south is the Vine Street Expressway. Immediately to the west is an entire city block that's taken up by an onramp and an offramp. So while lots of cars pass this spot daily, it's not exactly what you would consider friendly to pedestrians. And while these truths won't be changing anytime soon, there is a decent chance that something will soon alter the status quo here.
For years, Little John's Pizza has held down the southeast corner of 21st & Race. In the last few weeks, a reader tells us, the little neighborhood shop that specialized in pizza and cheesesteaks shut its doors for good. Passing by the other day, we noticed that the store is under construction. At least that's what the paper in the windows would seem to suggest.
Former Little John's
According to the permits we sniffed out on the L&I Map, the space has already been modified. New windows have been installed, an old vestibule has been eliminated, and a new accessible entrance has been created. We wouldn't be sad to see the paneling on the facade come down, we're kind of curious to see if there's anything interesting behind it.
By the late 19th Century, Philadelphia had apparently already established itself as a sports-crazed town. Around this growing reputation formed the Athletic Club of the Schuylkill Navy, a club for rowers interested in other sports. According to our colorful friends at Philaphilia, the club was formed in 1884. Shortly thereafter, the club constructed a headquarters at 1626-1628 Arch St., around the corner from the recently constructed Broad Street Station. The image here below, taken from G.W. Bromley’s Philadelphia Atlas, shows the newly built clubhouse in 1895.
Athletic Club of the Schuylkill Navy, 1895
The photo below, taken from building architect Willis G. Hale’s ‘City of Beautiful Buildings,’ shows the structure just a few years after its opening. The caption notes that the original occupants of the building, the Athletic Club of the Schuylkill Navy, became the Athletic Club of Philadelphia shortly thereafter.