Checking in on the 1100 Block of Chestnut Street

Last fall, we told you about an exciting effort from Brickstone that would completely change the conversation on East Chestnut Street. At the time, they were proposing the renovation of 1126-28 Chestnut St., a long blighted former department store building, and the demolition of the two buildings next door. In their place would come eighty apartments and tons of ground-floor commercial space. We even suggested that a Trader Joe's could fit the bill for the site, given the available commercial square-footage and everyone's obsession with the store.

In the past

As the months have passed, the project has evolved some and grown eastward. Instead of 80 apartments, the project will now include 115. There will be 90,000 sqft of retail when all is said and done. And another couple buildings, which we previously expected would remain, will soon be demolished. As for the first run of buildings, demolition is underway. At the former Oppenheim Collins building, the graffitti has been cleared off and the building's original sign has been revealed. Here's hoping it remains when the project is over.

Current view

Closer look at the building that will survive

Closer look at demolition

This will be part of the project too

Though the project has grown in scale, the design elements we were excited about previously are still being implemented. As we mentioned above, the old Oppenheim building will remain. The structure next door won't have a uniform look- instead, it will give the impression that three unique buildings have been built, all with 21' retail ceilings to match the preexisting building. Materials and finishes will change as you move down Chestnut Street, and the easternmost building will only rise five stories. Thankfully, the developers aren't trying to do a modern take on the Oppenheim building because that never works. Check out this rendering:

Project rendering from Plan Philly

The project is still in its early stages, but it's a welcome sight to see some progress evident. With demolition now in full swing, we can imagine the new building finishing up sometime toward the end of next year. And once it's done, who knows what kind of other development it could spur on Chestnut or Market Street. As we said several months ago, this thing could really be a game changer.