At the end of October, hundreds of excited shoppers let out a collective scream of excitement when Nordstrom Rack opened their doors at 17th & Chestnut in the space that was most recently home to Daffy's. Remember, we told you this was coming back in October of 2013. The building, whose history we documented extensively this spring, was built in 1928 for department store Bonwit Teller and that's been its only other tenant to date. Back in the day, the department store took up every floor of the building. Now, Nordstrom Rack only covers the first three floors. This means there's a whole lot of empty space in the building- but not for long.
Over the weekend, we got a tip from a reader about 2028-34 Rittenhouse Sq., which is currently used as a parking garage.
The three story building looks like it was once a warehouse of some kind, though we couldn't tell you exactly what it was originally built for. Over the past several years, as we mentioned, it's been used as a parking garage. But people who use this property to store their cars recently got notice that the garage is closing down at the end of the year.
Signs on the building
The garage's closure is, according to signs in the window, due to an upcoming development at the property. But we don't know what's going on. Permits have been pulled for minor masonry work and the removal of an underground tank, but that's no indication of whether the building will be renovated to accommodate residential uses for example, or demolished and replaced with something new. Has anyone in the neighborhood heard about what's planned for this property?
After our post went up, a representative from architects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson reached out and provided us with an updated rendering for the project. Here's the last one we had, along with the new one, for comparison:
According to the architects, this building will have the first truss-stiffened unitized curtain wall in America. Comparing the old rendering with the new, there are a couple of notable changes. You'll notice that the glass walls now have muntin-like features, which makes the building more interesting than before in our opinion. More immediately recognizable, you'll notice no tenants are specifically called out in the new image. That's perhaps an indication that the retail spaces are still mostly up in the air (with the exception of the Cheesecake Factory of course). But seriously, has anyone gotten confirmation on any other tenants?
It's been a bit of a slow burn on the southeast corner of 15th & Walnut, where a new building is finally rising after years of planning. We first told you that three buildings on this corner would be demolished back in 2012, and brought you a rendering of the project from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson about a year later.
In the past
When we visited the site in May, the old buildings had been demolished for the most part, and a large hole in the ground was all that was left at the site. In the months since, contractors have been hard at work and now the three story steel structure that will make up the building looks like it's approaching completion.
It was more than a year ago that we first broke the news that a bunch of new homes were soon to rise on the 2100 block of Walnut Street at the intersection with Van Pelt Street. Back then, developers from Conservatory Group USA had presented plans for the construction of nine new homes to the Historical Commission and were generally met with support. In the time since, they've demolished a one-story furniture store and an old surface parking lot, preparing the site for development.
More specific details have emerged on the project, which the developers are calling Van Pelt Mews. Check out this rendering, done by Cecil Baker.