The murals of Philadelphia cover so many themes, it's impossible to list them all off the top of your head. Some murals honor historical figures, others pay tribute to neighborhood icons, and some make obscure or direct references to community history. Some murals are serious, others are more whimsical. Some have a point or a mission, and others offer art for art's sake. In thinking about the many murals around our fair city, we confess that we cannot think of any that include an interactive feature, but a new mural that's nearing completion will soon fit that bill.
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.