The origin of Paul’s Draperies tracks all the way back to a pushcart in 1950. During that era, the demand for fabric was such that pushcarts in the street provided options beyond the offerings of the brick and mortar establishments. Within a few years, the Paul family established a storefront at 737 S. 4th St., selling drapes to a range of customers, including regular folks from the neighborhood, restaurants, cruise ships, and the occasional movie production. Hidden City interviewed Mr. Paul less than two years ago, but sometime between then and now, the store unfortunately closed its doors. The building was listed for sale for $2.5M before the Hidden City story even came out, eventually selling for half that figure about a year ago.
As you might assume with the property having sold and the business closed, the building is now under construction. Though the building looks like the others on the block, it’s rather huge, and goes back a staggering 123 feet. This kind of depth allows for more by-right density than you might imagine, with plans calling for seven apartments and retail space on the first floor. We don’t know what the storefront will ultimately entail, but we’re quite confident that it won’t be a store selling drapes or any kind of fabric. Such is life on Fabric Row in 2018, as the number of stores that fit the moniker continue to dwindle.
Just two doors to the north, another building is getting renovated. 733 S. 4th St. was home to the Oriental Art Gallery for a number of years, at least as far back as Google Street View remembers. This building also changed hands recently, trading for $400K last year, just a few days before the former Paul’s sold. Maybe you’re wondering why 733 S. 4th St. sold for only a quarter the price? As we told you, 737 S. 4th St. is very large and accommodated 7 apartments by right. 733 S. 4th St. covers a lot only half as deep, and the owners are renovating it into a retail space with two apartments upstairs.
This rehab was the one that first caught our attention, as the facade is now covered in some kind of sheathing that resembles pegboard. We have to think that some additional cladding will follow, as the divots in the material are kinda sharp and probably not ideal to leave exposed in the long term. Has anyone seen this on a building before, to perhaps give us a sense of how the facade will eventually look?