East Girard is home to several old buildings that add interest and provide personality to the corridor, like the Kensington National Bank turned Wells Fargo branch, or the First Presbyterian Church. That being said, the majority of the buildings on East Girard are older, utilitarian, mixed-use buildings that look like they were built sometime in the mid to late 1800s, with a smattering of new buildings constructed over the last decade. Of course, there are a handful of buildings that don’t fit into any of those categories, with 331 E. Girard Ave. being a fine example of such a building.
Yeah, that’s something else. The building was used as an auto glass business since the 1960s, and before that it was an auto repair shop. We suspect the facade was originally rectangular in shape, and that someone created the angle as part of a renovation, but we couldn’t tell you for sure. Looking at an old image from Phillyhistory.org, we see the angle on the facade dates back at least to the 1950s, but otherwise we’re at a bit of a loss. Of course, at this point all of this is purely academic, because the building was demolished a few months ago. The site of this unusual building is now sitting vacant.
As you might expect, the building was torn down in anticipation of a new project to take its place. And fortunately, this new project will bring a different kind of architectural interest to the table. The plans call for a four-story mixed-use building with retail on the first floor and a pair of apartments on the upper floors. KJO Architecture did the design work, and they’re calling the project ‘Shifted.’ See if you can guess why they came up with that name.
As far as we’re concerned, that’s a pretty cool take on a little mixed-use project. The parcel is quite challenging, as it’s only 36′ deep, but it’s also an unusual 26′ wide, which allowed the architects to create the offsets and the little decks on the front facade. As for what business will open in the retail space, we couldn’t tell you, but it’s probably a safe bet that it won’t be an auto glass business. No matter what opens here, we bet the neighbors are just happy that Girard is losing a curb cut; that it’s also gaining a unique new building is a bonus.