Market East is getting another major development, thanks again to the efforts of Brickstone Companies. Years ago, this company was perhaps best known for their renovation of the Wanamaker Building on Market Street. But more recently, they've been actively involved in multiple projects in Market East. On the 1100 block of Chestnut Street, they're in the middle of a combination new construction/renovation project which will have 115 apartments and a bunch of retail, including a Target. They have plans to renovate the Sound of Market building into a mixed-use project with ground-floor retail and creative office space. And for their next trick, they've got plans for a parking garage at 12th & Sansom.
Current view at 12th & Sansom
If you consider the location, it's clear that this two-story garage is a major underuse. For decades, the property was owned by famous slumlord Samuel Rappaport, and late last year his estate sold the property to Brickstone for a hefty $14.45M. According to the Inquirer, the company is still figuring out their plan for the property, but they're considering building two towers on the site which could each rise over 300 feet. Options include residential, office use, hotel, and retail.
Yet another long-planned project is coming to fruition, this time at 1213 Walnut St., the long planned "Fergie Tower." Back in 2008, before the bottom fell out on the real estate market, there was a plan for a thirty story building here, a combination of a rental apartment building and a hotel. If you've visited the wonderful Fergie's Pub at any point in the last seven years, you probably noticed that no such thing has happened and that a large surface parking lot has remained. But if you've visited over the last few weeks, you've probably noticed that things have changed.
Lovers of vinyl mourned about a year ago when Sound of Market closed their doors at 15 S. 11th St. after about three decades in business. Surely anyone that ever visited the store over the years was impressed by the five-story building it called home, though looking at the structure it was clear that it once possessed greater grandeur.
The building, typically referred to as the Sound of Market Building thanks to its longtime tenant, was designated historic back in 2013. Per the historic application, it was constructed in 1912, designed by William Steele and Sons, and the reinforced concrete structure features a blend of Art Deco and neo-Classical architectural styles. In particular, the polychromatic terra cotta ornament gives the building a unique and unusual appearance for Philadelphia. Here, take a look at a view of the building from 1965:
Boy, it sure is a bummer that the zombified remains of the Snellenburg's department store on Market Street got demolished.
If we may be serious for a moment, it's actually really wonderful that this horrible building, mutilated beyond recognition from its original splendor, is no longer with us. When we last checked in on the building formerly known as Girard Square at the end of last year, demolition efforts had just begun. Now the building is entirely gone. In its place is a giant hole in the ground.
Already, you're familiar with the Brickstone project on the 1100 block that has seen a collection of older buildings demolished and the facade of an old department store brought back to the public sphere. When we were last here, that demolition was still ongoing and the former Oppenheimer Collins building looked so much better than before. Visiting earlier today, all the old buildings are now demolished and a bunch of steel framing has appeared.
Framing next door
When this project is done, it will have 115 apartments and 90,000 sqft of retail space. We seem to remember hearing something about a Bed Bath and Beyond coming here, and we wrote of a rumor that Trader Joe's would come as well, but we don't think we've heard of any confirmed tenants. No matter who ends up taking the commercial space, the retailers will represent a big step up from the vacancy and the mostly junky stores that came before.