It's quite possible that you never noticed the Jarvis Building at 1209-15 Vine St., but if you're fond of dance clubs you'll soon be intimately familiar with the handsome old building. The building was constructed a little over a hundred years ago, and according to Volume 24 of The Horseless Age, it was constructed for the Quaker City Cab Company. Back then, Quaker City was one of but three cab companies in Philadelphia, which stands in strong contrast to our Uber-filled modern times. The building hasn't housed cabs in some time, but it's held up pretty nicely over the years.
According to a story from Philly.com, a mother-son partnership from Connecticut purchased the Jarvis Building earlier this year and are now in the process of turning the first two floors into the largest dance club in Philadelphia. The project will also include two restaurants and office space on the upper floors. It's not our scene, but if the developers have half the club connections mentioned in the article, this has the potential to be a successful venture.
Next door, the same developers have purchased 1201-1207 Vine St., which has been a surface parking lot for as long as we can remember. They recently presented plans for a 16-story building with 99 apartments and an automated 40-spot parking lot to the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation and take their plans to the ZBA this week. Was anyone at the community meeting that can give us a sense of what kind of chance they'll have at the ZBA? Here's a rendering from Ambit to give you an idea of what they're proposing.
On its face, this project seems pretty reasonable and given the location overlooking the Vine Street Expressway we don't see why anyone would have an issue with it. The density makes sense, 2:5 parking would seem to work, and the project dovetails well with the Goldtex building around the corner.
Oddly, the new apartment building, which seems like a decent enough idea, requires a variance, and the dance club next door, which seems like it could impact many neighbors in a negative fashion, is happening by-right. With work already underway on the club and zoning hurdles present for the apartment building, it's entirely possible that we'll see the club open but we'll never see the apartment building get built.