If you’ve eaten a burger in a Philadelphia restaurant, there’s a decent chance that said burger originated at George L. Wells Meat Company. Wells is a meat, poultry, and seafood purveyor, and they’ve been doing their thing for over a century. As far as we can tell, they’ve operated their business out of a large warehouse at 982 N. Delaware Ave. for the duration, but that era will soon come to an end.
We saw a post last week on Facebook that gave us the heads up that Wells has sold their building, and the site will soon be redeveloped. We actually believed something like this was happening a few years ago, but mistook repair work for upcoming development. Now though, it’s looking like some real change is coming to this address, with a project that creatively reuses the existing facade while adding roughly 500 units to the area. The developers hired design firm L2Partridge to conceptualize the project, and if it comes to pass it may well stand as the most satisfying new development we’ve seen on the Delaware waterfront.
The project, which has been dubbed Wellshaus, calls for two residential buildings, a 12-story structure on the northern end of the site, and a 5.5-story building on the southern side. In between the two buildings will be a retail complex which includes 43K sqft of commercial space, including at least one restaurant. The low-rise building will wrap around a courtyard, which sits above a large, below-grade parking lot. Heading west from the site, a huge, currently vacant stretch of land will eventually be converted to public green space.
L2Partridge did a pretty great job detailing the concept on the Wellshaus project page, and we culled some site plans and renderings from that page that will paint a much clearer picture of what we’re describing.
We’re missing some pretty critical details at this point, including the identity of the developer, whether the project will happen all at once or in phases, when the project will happen, how the proposal fits within the existing zoning of the site and the CDAG overlay, and whether Wells will be relocating or closing up shop. At the very least, we do know that the project intends to preserve the cast iron cow that’s kept watch above the entrance to the building forever. And that’s really comforting, for whatever reason.
Update: The folks from Wells reached out to us and are insisting that Wells is not closing, nor is it moving. They haven’t heard of Wellshaus and have indicated that the project isn’t happening. We’ve left a message with L2Partridge to try to get a better understanding of what’s going on, and will provide another update after we hear back.
Update #2: We chatted with the folks at L2Partridge, and learned that this project was theoretical in nature, unfortunately. Their website has been updated to reflect this more clearly.