Passyunk Square

As compared to the unimpressive plan from a few years ago

Remember the old American Ice and Coal warehouse at 9th & Washington? For years, we dreamed about someone turning this vacant monstrosity into some kind of mixed-use gem, lifting up the southern section of the Italian Market. Instead, it got demolished back in 2008 and we've had a vacant lot monstrosity ever since. Three years back, Midwood Investments presented a plan to redevelop this parcel with a one-story building with three commercial spaces and 70 underground parking spots and called it the Italian Marketplace. We panned the project, which looked like it was cribbed architecturally from Xfinity Live, mostly for lacking a residential component.

Italian Marketplace rendering

Thankfully, this project didn't get built and the intersection still looks like this:

Current view on Washington Ave.

Last night, the developers came before the community to give this corner another try. The meeting was pretty well attended.

But we actually lived there once upon a time

You've probably never visited the 1200 block of Annin Street. It's a skinny block that looks like it dead-ends at its western end (but there's actually a narrow path out to Federal Street). Architecturally, it's a very mixed bag, with a row of newer-looking garage-front homes with driveways, a couple of standard Philly row homes, and a bunch of former warehouses that have been converted, mostly into residential use.

Looking west on the 1200 block of Annin Street
Former warehouses converted to residential
More warehouse conversions

We actually lived on this block back in the day, in a building that was once a toilet seat factory but was converted, at some point, into five apartments with 1:1 parking. It was a fine place to live for a year, and it was kind of fun to come back to cover a proposed project for the block.

Reuse still woulda been nice

We first brought a blighted building at 1221 S. Broad St., a former armory, to your attention back in the summer of 2011, when plans to build a four-story mixed-use building threatened to cover a mural of what looked like a zombified Frank Sinatra. The old armory was constructed in the 1880s, and sat mostly vacant in recent years, slowly deteriorating inside.

Project has taken years

We first visited the 10th & Cross intersection in early 2012, and showed you 1526 S. 10th St., a one-story building that once housed a corner business. Remember, it was a pickup location for neighborhood paperboys at one point and a corner store before that. But that was decades ago. In recent years, it looked like it was was used as an apartment. When we visited, the building had a tarp on the roof and plans for an addition.

A few years ago

For whatever reason, the project took a couple of years to get off the ground. We checked back at the end of 2013, and framing was finally taking place. When we passed by earlier this week, we discovered a project that looks to be finished, at least on the outside. There's no question it's an improvement- the front doors at the corner would be appropriate at King's Landing.

Row of homes could start soon

Arson is the suspected cause of a fire that scorched a warehouse at 1403-09 Darien St. in Passyunk Square this winter, displacing a few Philadelphia bands and destroying some expensive music equipment.

East side of Darien St.

A few months before the fire, we wrote about developers' plans to demolish the warehouse and build six new garage-front homes here. The Passyunk Square Civic Association supported the project. But when we passed by last week, the burned-out facade of the warehouse was still standing. The developers got their zoning permits over the summer, and we'd wager that construction will get underway sometime soon. As you can see, the new homes, from FUSA Designs, will have some colorful bay windows.