Washington Square West

We hear Toll Brothers is thinking condos

The Society Hill Playhouse has been an important piece of the Philadelphia theatre scene since it was established way back in 1960. But earlier today, we learned that this institution may soon show its final performance and new condo buildings will take its place.

Society Hill Playhouse

This morning, a reader emailed us with some second hand information that we're hoping somebody out there is able to verify/expound upon. Apparently, Toll Brothers will be appearing before the Washington Square West Civic Association later this month to present a plan to build two condo buildings on either side of 8th Street between Lombard and South. These five-story buildings will contain condos, and would ostensibly replace the two-story parking garage on the west side of the street, the surface parking lot on the east side of the street, and the building that currently contains the playhouse. The building dates back to the early 1900s but we don't believe it's certified historic.

It's not a sure thing yet

Back in 2011, when the Southstar Lofts project was still just a twinkle in Carl Dranoff's eye, we brought 1323-25 South St. to your attention, lamenting its blighted condition. At the time, we gave you all the details on the property, which has been owned by a gentleman named Donald Turner since 1997. The building has a 2,240 sqft footprint and probably has an interesting history, but we can't find anything about it. Sadly, today it looks pretty much the way it did when we first told you about it more than three years ago.

It's been vacant for quite some time

But just when we thought the building would never get redeveloped, it seems that it could finally return to active use. Last month, signs appeared on the building announcing a presentation at a Washington Square West Civic Association zoning meeting.

An addition, plus a new building

Last fall, we told you about big plans for 412 S. 13th St., known more colloquially as Waverly Court. The building looks like it has some kind of industrial past, though we could not tell you its original purpose. Most recently, it has been home to rental apartments and the (rather excellent) restaurant Amis. Previously, a surface parking lot sat next door but now that parking lot is gone, with a building coming in its place.

Older but relevant photo of the building
Construction is moving forward

When we originally told you about the project, it looked like it would entail 37 apartment units total. Now we understand that there will be a total of 60 apartments, 11 parking spots for cars, and 13 parking spots for bikes. Not only will a six story building rise next to the existing structure, but the Waverly Court building will also get a two-story addition. We were able to snag a rendering of the project from the good people at JKR Partners.

Buildings will be replaced by Dranoff's SLS building

Back at the end of 2013, we attended an event that served as the kickoff for a new project from Dranoff Properties at the corner of Broad & Spruce. In the five seasons that have passed since then, it's been pretty much status quo at this corner, the former home of Philadelphia International Records. A couple of months ago, we spied demolition notices on the property. And when we passed by yesterday, we discovered a demolition effort that's well underway.

Its replacement will surely disappoint

Of late, we've told you about a couple of projects near 11th & Chestnut. Most recently, we told you about plans to renovate a building just south of Chestnut which has been home to Baum's for many decades. And it's impossible to miss the ongoing construction work on the western side of the block, which will eventually mean the addition of 115 apartments and a bunch of new retail space (holding a Bed Bath and Beyond maybe?). 1106 Chestnut St. sits in between those two projects and the sight of it makes us sad. We're not so much sad because of what it looks like, but it's more that it looked amazing not so long ago.

It used to look like this
What a difference

It's hard to tell exactly what was going on from the grany Google Street View photo, but it looks like the previous facade was granite and it featured a collection of Deco details. Now the brick underneath is exposed, and all evidence of the old facade is gone but for the firring strips that likely held it up in the first place. So what happened?