The Graduate Hospital neighborhood has many qualities that make it an attractive place to live, with the most obvious being that it’s the neighborhood right next to the Rittenhouse neighborhood. That proximity gets residents easy access to Rittenhouse Square and downtown shopping and restaurants, but without the associated bustle and congestion. We’ve argued previously that Graduate is largely a bedroom community, and that it would greatly benefit from additional neighborhood retail. Prevailing zoning and a growing tide of NIMBYism will only make that tougher in the coming years, so figure the number of neighborhood spots isn’t likely to increase very much moving forward.
Given the nature of the neighborhood, the majority of its blocks are homes and home-sized apartment buildings from stem to stern. Some blocks are broken up by other buildings, like schools or churches, breaking up the rhythm. And then there are blocks like the 2000 block of Christian Street, which has never had much of a rhythm in the first place. On the south side, the combination of Shiloh Baptist Church and Saint Charles Borromeo only leaves space for seven residential buildings. The northern side is more intact, with the Philly Free School taking up about a mere quarter of the block. But there’s another building that has always been different from the rest on the north side of the 2000 block of Christian.
There’s a two-story, double-wide building at 2027-29 Christian St. which has been used for many years as an overnight parking facility for food trucks. We always guessed that a couple of homes had been demoed here at some point, with this building rising in their place. But looking at some historic maps, we see that there properties have been used as stables and/or garages for well over a century. This may have represented a reasonable use in the early 20th century, but we don’t imagine there are many people who would argue that this is the ideal location for food truck parking in 2018.
So it’s with no sadness whatsoever that we direct your attention to the Notice of Demolition that’s currently posted to the property. As for what’s happening next, we couldn’t tell you. The instinctive first guess would be a couple of new homes, but the parcel is zoned for multi-family use, so we might instead see a couple of duplexes or triplexes. So far, we don’t even see new ownership info in public record to try to figure out who we can ask about this. One thing does seem certain though, that food trucks won’t be parking in whatever it is that eventually gets built here.