Changes on Both Sides of 12th & Chestnut

12th & Chestnut is moving in a positive direction.
Already, you're familiar with the Brickstone project on the 1100 block that has seen a collection of older buildings demolished and the facade of an old department store brought back to the public sphere. When we were last here, that demolition was still ongoing and the former Oppenheimer Collins building looked so much better than before. Visiting earlier today, all the old buildings are now demolished and a bunch of steel framing has appeared.

Oppenheim's bones

Framing next door

When this project is done, it will have 115 apartments and 90,000 sqft of retail space. We seem to remember hearing something about a Bed Bath and Beyond coming here, and we wrote of a rumor that Trader Joe's would come as well, but we don't think we've heard of any confirmed tenants. No matter who ends up taking the commercial space, the retailers will represent a big step up from the vacancy and the mostly junky stores that came before. We're looking forward to seeing this thing built, and people who often drive on Chestnut Street will be happy when the long-blocked lane frees up.

Project rendering

Across the street, we spied signs on the the former Beneficial Savings Fund HQ indicating that it will soon become reactivated. Last fall, the Drexel Law School got a gift so large that they felt compelled to rename their program the Thomas R. Kline School of Law. That gift also included the beautiful building on the southwest corner of 12th & Chestnut. Remember, there were plans a few years back to convert the building into 1200 Bank, a billiard hall plus restaurant plus bar plus rooftop deck/lounge, but that plan was scuttled by near neighbors concerned about noise. In 2016, the building will be home to the Thomas R. Kline Institute of Trial Advocacy of the Kline School of Law. We don't imagine the neighbors will object to this.

Former Beneficial Savings Fund building

This section of Chestnut Street has been slumbering for too long. But it's definitely waking up.