It's been more than a year since we last visited the 22nd & Walnut intersection, though we should clarify that we mean that from a purely journalistic perspective. In point of fact, we find ourselves at this intersection several times per week, which means we've been watching as five mansions have taken shape on what was once a surface parking lot at the southeast corner. When we were here last year, construction was just getting underway and a hole in the ground was the only evidence of the construction to follow. Needless to say, there's been a ton of progress since then.
View from the south
A look at the facades
The developers have dubbed this project Walnut Estates and the first phase is now approaching completion. And wouldn't you know it, all five houses are already spoken for! You may or may not be able to tell, but these are monster homes, each with 5,000 sqft of interior space, 4 bedrooms, 4 full bathrooms, 2 half bathrooms, an elevator, and two-car parking. Prices reflect the size and location, ranging from $2.25M to $2.5M. Yowza.
A fire tore through 2122 Locust St. back in January, injuring two firefighters and leaving the residents of 21 apartments without a place to live. The 4-alarm fire was so intense that demolition was considered as the only option for the building. But the edifice has quite a bit of history, having been designed by Baker & Dallett and constructed in 1899. Originally known as the Charles F. Gummey House, the building also sits in the Rittenhouse Fitler Historic District and its demolition would have indeed been a bummer to most and a major blow to the preservation-minded among us.
View in the past
The City stepped in shortly after the fire, demanding that William Penn Realty, the owners of the property, retain the building's historic facade while demolishing its interior. That effort has been ongoing since the spring and we honestly can't be sure if the interior work is finished because the lower level windows are currently boarded up. The building permit was updated last month though, to indicate that the work was completed. So there's that. It should be noted, by the way, that they couldn't save the fourth floor, which suffered too much damage in the fire. Here's what the building looks like today:
We're big proponents of attending community zoning meetings, as it helps you understand what's coming to your neighborhood and provides you with a forum to comment on projects that might have a direct impact on your life. Sometimes though, this practice might result in you sitting for hours in a lightly air conditioned room with poor acoustics and eventually watching the DNC on delay until after midnight.
If you couldn't guess, this was our experience at last night's Center City Residents' Association zoning committee meeting, which we attended with an eye toward getting more information about the proposal for a new mixed-use building at 22nd & South. Remember, we told you about this project earlier this month but still lacked some details. Thankfully, that project was first on the agenda and we were able to leave at around 8:45pm. With six additional projects to cover at the meeting and committee discussion to follow, we wonder what time the meeting finished. Unless it's still going.
If you've lived in the neighborhood for any amount of time, you've probably bought a six pack and a lousy slice of pizza at Omega Pizza on the northeast corner of 22nd & South. If you're a fan of the place you probably want to get there quickly, because it looks like the business is about to disappear.
Earlier today, we received news that the Omega Pizza building could soon be demolished and that developers have plans to build a new mixed use building on the site of the pizza place and the parking lot next door. The five-story building will contain 20 residential units on its upper floors and in the 5000+ sqft retail space, the plans call for a new Wawa (!!!). The plan also includes five parking spaces, though we doubt this will quell parking concerns from neighbors.
In the comments, one of our readers posted a link to the website for Astoban Properties which shows renderings of this project. Seeing these images, we get a much clearer sense of exactly what they were proposing.