Old City

We told you about this one over five years ago

Sometimes development projects move forward in a linear fashion, progressing quickly through the approval and construction process. There are also many projects that hit some speed bumps along the way, experiencing delays or stalling out entirely for a number of years. 14 S. 3rd St. falls into the latter category, as we first told you about a plan for this property back in the summer of 2011 but saw no construction at this vacant lot even though the adjacent intersection of 3rd & Market was seeing all kinds of changes. Within the last week or so, however, a reader noticed some construction activity on the site. Finally!

Construction has started
From a bit further away

To refresh your memory, a building previously stood at this address which was built in 1894 and received historic designation in 1977. A fire in 2004 resulted in its demolition. Five years ago, developers proposed a five-story building at this location, with ground-floor retail and four apartments on the upper floors. Harman Deutsch did the design work for the project, which we imagine will maintain the same appearance as the rendering from half a decade ago.

At least in comparison to 205 Race across the street

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:

Mostly coffee though

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.

The project will be quite tall for Old City

The surface parking lot at 218 Arch St. has been in development limbo for about a decade, but now it's looking like something will finally get built there. A reader reached out the other day, noting that heavy equipment was performing some preliminary site work at this property. And since it sits right next door to the wonderful Tartes and we rarely miss an opportunity to enjoy a tasty snack, we figured we'd check it out.

A significant upgrade at this corner

Do you remember what the southeast corner of 3rd & Chestnut looked like until a couple years ago? Perhaps this will refresh your memory.

In the past

This terrible building was constructed in the 1970s, when the City hatched a genius plan to relocate the Liberty Bell from Independence Hall as part of the celebration of the Bicentennial. People saw what the building was going to look like and aggressively came out in opposition to the plan, ultimately resulting in the bell moving instead to Independence Mall, where it still resides to this day. Inexplicably, the City still built this lousy structure to house the new and uncracked Bicentennial Bell, and the building was eventually a tourist center before sitting vacant for several years.

In 2014, we excitedly shared the news that the building would be demolished and that the Museum of the American Revolution would rise in its place. We haven't checked in on the project in over two years, since the time that demolition activity was just getting started. Needless to say, there's been a ton of progress since then.