Zipping down Delaware Avenue today, definitively not on our way to Sugarhouse, a billboard advertising a real estate auction stopped us in our tracks.
In case you can't get a good look from the sign, it's announcing that a 65K sqft parcel with CMX-3 zoning is going up for auction with May 11th as the deadline to submit a bid. The parcel is question is 1143-51 N. Delaware Ave., and it's pretty much what it looks like in the picture above. It's rather skinny but impossibly deep, running all the way to the Delaware River.
Penn Treaty Park is located immediately to the north, and the warehouse next door belongs to the Henry Stewart Company, distributing rigging products since 1905. A little further south you'll find Sugarhouse, with its flashy new parking garage apparently finished.
Visiting the Tranzon Auction website, we learned that the minimum sale price is $3.6M, to be accompanied by a 10% buyers premium. Third Federal Bank has owned the property since 2010, having taken it back from developers at sheriff's sale. At one point about a decade ago, those developers apparently had approvals for a 168 unit mixed-use project. Plan Philly fills in some detail that this to be the site of the Penn Treaty Tower, but suggests it would have had no commercial element. Like so many other projects around town, the bottom fell out on the project in 2008, leading to foreclosure.
The fact that the property is now going up for auction should be an indication that it could soon get redeveloped. After all, there aren't so many developers out there that will drop millions on a property without a pretty good idea about what they'll do there. And with the CMX-3 zoning, the property has many possibilities. Stay tuned, perhaps some of those possibilities will be narrowed by the end of this year.