After unsuccessful stints as a real estate agent, a car salesman, and a mall santa, 'ol Gil finally found a business that worked for him, holding down the southwest corner of 11th & McKean for several years with a successful wholesaling business. Many businesses and organizations patronized Gil's Wholesale, getting their fix of candy, ice cream, paper goods, and of course, cigars. A few months ago though, Gil's Wholesale moved its business to Glenolden. Maybe it was parking challenges, or perhaps the lure of lower taxes that led to the move. But what we're left with is clear, a large and currently vacant building.
South Philly is littered with businesses that could use a good warehouse, but we'd posit that a residential project might be a better plan at this location. The property sets up very nicely for a seven home development with a drive-aisle in the back accessed from Emily Street. Of course, it's zoned for commercial use, so a project here would require a variance. But are people in this area really fighting for more commercial uses in the neighborhood, with Passyunk Avenue just two blocks away? We don't know the answer. We do know that the project we just described would dovetail nicely with a five year old residential project across the street on the 1100 block of Emily Street. In fact, the lack of front garages would make a project at 11th & McKean a step up from the nearby development.
All of this is, of course, speculation. The property isn't listed for sale and the owner might already have a new tenant lined up for the property. Be that as it may, our idea does seem to make some sense, no? And with mid-sized new construction projects rarely getting built in this area, we could imagine a good deal of demand for those new homes. Assuming somebody builds them, that is.