It was roughly ten months ago that we told you that the Global Beer Distributor at 1150 N. American St. had moved on to the keg cooler in the great beyond, as developers had purchased their 17K sqft parcel for $2.8M. This transaction made sense on a number of levels. Northern Liberties has pretty much finished its transition from spunky up and comer to established and high-priced neighborhood. A single-purpose one-story building on a sizable lot might have made sense here when the beer distributor opened more than a decade ago, but today this qualifies as a serious underuse of a valuable piece of real estate. In addition, we believe the beer distributor business isn’t nearly as good as it used to be, as bottle shops have exploded in number and supermarkets now offer beer as well. Sure, the prices are still better at a beer distributor, but other options are typically more convenient. And along the lines of what we just said, the price sensitivity in this part of town isn’t what it was in the past.
When we wrote our previous story, we saw that the new owners had pulled demolition permits. And indeed, they have followed through with those permits, as the old building is no more.
Now, thanks to a Philly.com story, we can tell you what’s going to rise here in the near future, and it wasn’t quite what we expected. Put simply, this building will include 74 apartments, with a mix of 2 bedroom and 4 bedroom units, and a TruFusion gym location on the first floor. But this won’t be a standard apartment building. It will be operated by Quarters, an international co-living company with locations in New York, DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and several other cities around the world. Each bedroom in the building will be occupied by a “member,” with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The building will also have a host of amenities, including furnished units, a cleaning service, and community spaces. Memberships are also transferable to other Quarters locations in other cities, so we can see how this sort of living arrangement would be very attractive to a certain segment of the population.
Even if a standard apartment building were rising here, it would still be a tremendous upgrade over the building that was here before. The fact that a Quarters will be operating here certainly adds a cool factor to the project, as does the gym, with its yoga, pilates, barre, and cycle offerings. For those mourning the beer distributor, there’s always the Acme or the Foodery just a few blocks away. And if you simply must get your beer by the case, you can always hoof it to the distributor at 9th & Girard. Figure it’ll be at least a few more years before that property becomes too valuable to maintain as a beer distributor.