Have you always wanted to live in the Washington Square West neighborhood but you've never been able to find the right home for you? Do you have many millions of dollars and a craving for new construction? Would you also dig on the idea of building a dream home for yourself and some well heeled friends? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then we may have just the development opportunity for you. Recently, a listing for 1325 Rodman St. came across our desk and the property has quite a bit of redevelopment potential.
Last summer, Pearl Properties purchased three buildings on the northeast corner of Broad & Locust, resulting in the closing of Varalli restaurant after twenty-five years in business. Upstairs, Perch Pub remained open, though an Inquirer story indicated that it too could close by the spring of 2016 (which despite the temperature outside, doesn't arrive for another two weeks). Last November, word came out that Pearl was partnering with Choice Hotels to open a 206-room Cambria Hotel & Suites in this location, along with a "first-class" restaurant. This sounded like a wonderful upgrade over the stubby building at the corner and the parking garage next door.
The view at Broad & Locust several months ago
Parking garage getting replaced
But we didn't know what the place would look like until today, when Inga Saffron was kind enough to tweet a rendering of the upcoming building.
Broad & Walnut was a wonderful location for Robinson Luggage for almost 30 years, but ultimately competition from the internet put them out of business in 2013. Earlier this year, news broke that Wawa would be opening in the space previously occupied by the luggage store, breaking their recent pattern of closing stores downtown. And the people rejoiced because everyone in this town prefers a Wawa Shorti to a Six-inch Subway sandwich.
Today, the store officially opened its doors and the result was, predictably, bedlam.
In the past
The new Wawa
We elbowed our way inside and discovered a sparkling new Wawa totally jammed with people. We assure you, we asked everyone for their permission to photograph them. Probably.
You can see, the inside of the building has been completely gutted and all the windows have been removed. It appears that some framing has happened inside, suggesting progress toward the apartments that will eventually fill the building. On a somewhat frustrating note, Camac Street is blocked off due to the construction.
With all its history, the streets of Philadelphia are literally a treasure trove of hidden instances of awesome. And you can count the historical 200 block of S. Camac St. as one of those awesome treasures. Years ago, we told you about this block, which is the only one in Philadelphia with a surface of wooden pavers. To jog your memory, this was actually a pretty common road surface for a minute back in the early 1900s. On the plus side, it muted the sound of clopping horse hooves. On the other side of the ledger, it absorbed horse pee and intensified the smells of summer. It seems the negatives outweighed the positives and it quickly fell out of favor.
Like a Frank Furness building, this block of Camac Street transports us to a different era. And it looks really cool while doing it, too. But it seems that the wooden Camac Street requires just as much attention as a regular city street, if not more. It's currently in the process of getting repaved, which is at the very least an interesting sight to see.