The 1100 block of Chestnut Street has transformed in the last couple of years, mostly because of a large project from Brickstone on the south side of the block. This project got moving in earnest a couple of years ago, and has made quite a bit of progress in the year since our last visit. Now it looks like it's nearly finished.
In case you don't remember the details of the project, the developers bought up a bunch of properties on the block and demolished all but the former Oppenheim Collins department store, close to 12th Street. You can see, they've built a big new structure, and the project includes 115 apartments and 90K sqft of retail space, with the first Center City Target taking up about a quarter of that space. Last week, Philly.com shared the news that the Target will open its doors on July 20th. We just pray (along with regular commuters) that the barriers that have blocked part of Chestnut Street for the last two years will be gone by then.
When the project was in the early phases of construction, workers on the site removed some ugly cladding from the former Oppenheim Collins building, revealing an engraved sign for the departed department store.
Since the developers were saving the structure, we assumed that they'd be preserving the old sign, providing a link to the building's past and adding character to its present. Sadly, they've covered over the sign, though you can still make out some of the letters if you squint.
Perhaps Target insisted that the old sign disappear, maybe the developers wanted a cleaner look to the building, or it's possible that an overzealous contractor did the deed. And while we can say with great certainty that this project is a huge win for Chestnut Street and Market East in general, we still wish the old sign could have stuck around.