We've been banging the drum for Washington Avenue west of Broad for a long time, liking it so much we even moved our office there. Finally, after years of waiting, the corridor is taking steps in the right direction. Framing is underway at Lincoln Square at Broad & Washington, and this project will eventually create a few hundred apartments and over 100K sqft of retail. Way to the west, at 2501 Washington Ave., there are plans for a mix of homes and apartments, and construction recently started up again after a lull. In between those projects though, at 2300 Washington Ave., is one of our least favorite projects in the city. We're referring, of course, to the Extra Space Storage Facility, which is now getting close to completion. Check it out, in all its crapitude.
Anyone that has spent any kind of time meandering through South Philly knows that South Broad Street is home to a number of striking buildings, some of which are still in pretty good shape despite the passage of time. The Historical Commission agrees with our assertion, and in 2014 crafted a memo that calls out a few dozen properties on South Broad Street that could be considered contributing to a "residential thematic district." 1316 S. Broad St. was among the properties on that list, and if you ever saw the building, you could understand why it would draw admiration from the Historical Commission.
In the past
Notice that we used the past tense there, because the building is no longer there. We passed by the property earlier today and discovered that the building has been demolished and 1318 S. Broad St. has been gutted. What happened?
A couple of readers have reached out in recent weeks, wondering about the ongoing construction at 1425 Federal St., a building that was most recently the home of Mel Davis Used Cars. Just a few years back, when Mr. Davis was still doing his thing, there were two other auto centric businesses on the 1400 block of Federal, with Model Auto Body Co. and Dong's Auto Repair. Now only Dong's remains, as the Model building was demolished as part of an upcoming apartment project which we covered last fall.
In the past
If you visit this property today, you'll notice that it's under heavy construction. What gives?
William Penn was really on to something when he laid out Philadelphia on a grid, as it makes navigating our town incredibly easy for residents and tourists alike. Even when you throw in the occasional Passyunk Avenue, it's pretty tough to get lost in the core of our predictable city. One thing about those diagonal streets though, is that they occasionally create some unusual triangular pieces of real estate when they come very close to intersections. And we've seen a variety of uses for those triangles, like public space at 23rd, South, & Grays Ferry, or residential use at 6th, Catharine, & Passyunk, or retail at 21st, Reed, & Point Breeze. Well, the last use is theoretical in nature, as the building at 2101 Reed St. was used as a check cashing place for a number of years but has been sitting vacant for quite some time.
If you've always wanted to own a mixed-use building with a grocery/sandwich shop on the first floor, consider this the sound of opportunity knocking. We were in Point Breeze the other day and noticed a sign on 1439 S. 20th St., advertising that the building will be going to auction. Associated Auctioneers will be handling the sale, which will take place on April 26th at high noon. Or just regular noon, if you prefer.
We often wonder why property owners opt for an auction instead of simply listing their building for sale, and in this case it turns out that the property was listed for sale with a realtor at $400K earlier this year. But the owners apparently didn't get any bites at the price they desired, so now they're trying the auction route. The old listing tells us that the building has about 3,700 sqft inside, with a store on the first floor paying $1,200/mo. There are four units upstairs, with a pair of one-bedrooms, an efficiency, and a three-bedroom unit that's in shell condition. Two of the apartments are occupied, with the tenants paying a combined $650/mo. With some major renovation effort, this building presents considerable opportunity for higher rent numbers.