Washington Square West

It's a bit of a fixer-upper though

We don't usually call out individual properties listed for sale, but every now and then a particularly special one comes on the market and we feel like we'd be remiss if we didn't bring it to your attention. Such is the case with 1221 Pine St., a historic home in the Washington Square West neighborhood that's now on the market for $550K

View of the home

According to the listing, the home was built by by Joseph & Eliza Shoemaker, Jr. in 1829, with the first floor originally functioning as a drug store. According to the Historical Commission, the architecture of the building perfectly represents the period in which it was built. Though the exterior of the building is in pretty shabby condition, it appears to be mostly intact and it probably strongly resembles its original state.

The listing has many photos that show the interior of the house, which has a number of seemingly original details but still looks like it will need a total rehab. The current owner, who bought the property in 1985 for $50K (!) seems to have done some renovation work over the years, but looking at the photos we can't be sure that anybody has been living there lately. The building has about 3,000 sqft inside, with three large rooms on each of the first three floors. The top floor has another large room with roof deck access. At this time, per the listing, there's only one working half bath. Like we said, the place needs some serious work.

Okay, enough exposition. Check out these photos!

This seems like a bad idea

The Inquirer reported yesterday that Toll Brothers has a plan in place to demolish 702-710 Sansom St., five buildings on Jewelers Row, and replace them with a new 16 story building with 80 apartments and retail on the first floor. Regular readers of this blog know that we're very supportive of development, sometimes to a fault. And yet we find ourselves struggling to embrace this project.

We've wondered about 'em for years

Ah, the picturesque 1000 block of Lombard Street. Wonderful Seger Park fills up the entire southern side, and on the north side we see a mix of homes that date back over a hundred years and a row of not-entirely-offensive garage front homes that look like they were built in the 1980s. And then there's the three homes at 1017-1021 Lombard St., which don't fall into either category. Perhaps you too have wondered about them at some point.

While repairs continues next door

Given its prominent location, it's amazing that 208 S. 13th St. has been sitting empty for several years- the building's last tenant was Letto Deli, which closed in 2009. According to Hidden City, a one story building was constructed here in 1955 as a Dewey's Famous, and got remodeled after a fire in 1969. It became a gay bar in the late 1970s into the 1980s, and for a time was a Middle Eastern restaurant called The Pyramids. Half a decade ago, Jose Garces had a plan to open a German sausage and beer hall called Froman's Wursthaus here, but that plan fell through. Two years ago, Michael Klein reported that Sylva Senat of the now-shuttered Tashan had signed a lease for the space but would be tearing down the building.

Part of a larger project that's far in the future?

The northeastern section of the Wash West neighborhood has an embarrassment of health care riches, with Jefferson, Pennsy, and Wills Eye Hospital all bunched up in the same general area. As you're surely well aware, the rest of the neighborhood features some of the most expensive residential real estate in Philadelphia. The fact that the neighborhood has so much going for it makes the row of vacant buildings on 9th Street just north of Locust all the more puzzling.

Looking up 9th Street

So... what's the deal with these buildings?

Great bones but seemingly vacant

Thankfully, our old friend GroJLart wrote about 229 and 231 S. 9th St. for Hidden City last year, providing some answers. 229 S. 9th St. was apparently home to the Shell Art Novelty Company back in the day. For many years, it was the place in Philadelphia to get jewelry made from sea shells. Less exciting, the building next door last held an optometry office. A company called Abbot Inc bought both properties in the early 1990s, along with most of the row of buildings to the north. Some of those buildings are in poor condition and have been cited by the City.