Abbotts Square is a gargantuan building compared to its neighbors on the eastern end of South Street. Developed in 1982 by Jack W. Blumenfeld, it carries many design markers that make its era of construction fairly evident. As we walked by the building this past weekend during Oktoberfest on South Street, we couldn't help but notice some construction signs in the parking garage 3rd floor of the building, so we decided to do some research.
Notice the Domus signs
Being naturally curious about every property in Philadelphia, especially those that are such an integral part of an old commercial corridor like this one, we decided to visit phillyhistory.org to see what the area looked like before this building existed, and we discovered this photo from 1930:
Looking west from 2nd & South in 1930. Note that the Bridget Foy's building is the same structure today.
Despite the fact that it's been under construction for over a year, we've somehow never covered 500 Walnut, the new ultra-high-end apartment building at the southwest corner of 5th & Walnut. This parcel was sitting vacant for years, and has several development possibilities come and go before Scannapieco Development Corporation, the company that developed 1706 Rittenhouse Square, stepped forward with the project that's now happening. That project is currently about 12 stories tall but will eventually rise to 26 stories.
Most of us still think of the northwest corner of 4th & South as Lickety Split, even after the folks from Bar Rescue stepped in a couple years ago to create Alleged Pizza on the first floor at 2nd State Lounge upstairs. None of that matters anymore, with both businesses closed and the building under construction for the last few months. Michael Klein shared the news last December that Milkboy would be opening a new location here which could bring some renewed constancy to this corner. And some live music too, we hope.
For people who live at or near the Abbotts Square building on the 200 block of South Street, it's been a pretty bleak couple of years. Almost all of the stores closed back in 2014 as the owners of the building prepared a 20K sqft space for Garden of Eden, a small grocery chain out of New York that amazingly describes itself as "a culinary Mecca for savvy shoppers who demand the finest products and ingredients at the best prices." Then nothing happened.
Corner of 2nd & South, former bank
At the beginning of this year, we spotted some murals in the windows of the empty retail spaces, effectively distracting us from their continued vacancy. With some apparent construction inside, we were cautiously optimistic that something was happening but we weren't sure whether it was Garden of Eden or something else.
More mansions are coming, and they're not in Old City for a change! They'll be rising, uh, like two blocks away from Old City! So yeah, arbitrary neighborhood borders aside, some more giant homes are coming soon, and they'll be a stone's throw from some of the other top-of-market projects we've covered of late.