No More Pallets at 5th & Cecil B?

There’s something about a steamy July morning that makes us think about pallets. For your enjoyment, here are some pallet facts, thanks to Business Dictionary: Standard American pallets measure 4′ by 4′, but European pallets are typically rectangular in shape, measuring 1m x 1.2m. Who knew? Pallets can generally handle about a metric ton of weight, which explains why they’re generally moved around on forklifts. Interesting! The terms skid and pallet are used interchangeably, though technically they’re not the same- a pallet has boards on the top and the bottom, and a skid is bottomless. Mind=blown.

As you’ve surely already guessed, this pallet nonsense is connected to some real estate development, since that’s what we do around here. So please allow us to direct your attention to 408 Cecil B. Moore Ave., a property we’ve actually mentioned in the past. A little over half a year ago, we brought you to the intersection of 5th & Cecil B. and noted the presence of Pallets Plus, a pallet concern that traditionally operated on the north and south sides of the street. We told you about this company because we learned that they had sold their sizable northern property to developers, with a vision for a few mixed-use buildings. To date, we’ve seen only limited progress at the site.

Northern property

We opined at the time that the company would continue to operate from their property on the southern side of the street. After all, 60K sqft seems like enough space for a pallet company, right? Then again, a pallet business using 60K sqft of land at 5th & Cecil B. is entirely ridiculous. That land is worth millions of dollars or alternately, hundreds of thousands of pallets. The pallet business could sell its property to developers and buy a new property for a lower price in a less desirable location, pocketing the difference. And we believe that’s exactly what’s happening.

Pallets galore!
So many pallets

There’s currently a zoning application for this property which calls for a pair of mixed-use buildings with a pair of retail spaces, 146 residential units, and 52 parking spaces. If anything, we’d argue that this is still a bit of an underuse for this property, as it could handle quite a bit more density. On the other hand, there are several significant apartment projects under construction or on the horizon in South Kensington, so there’s a bit of a question as to how much supply the neighborhood can handle over the next few years.

Another question is what will happen to the fencing that surrounds the pallet properties on both sides of the street. Like we told you before, the pallet company has had an arrangement that allowed street artists to paint the fences as long as they cleaned up after themselves. We believed that this would remain the case for the southern property, but we can’t imagine the graffiti will stay when the property gets redeveloped. Perhaps the developers on the south side will integrate graffiti into their project in some way, as the northern developers have suggested they intend to do. Or more likely, as has been the case in other parts of Philadelphia and all over the world, the street artists will lose this location as a space for expression and move on to greener, or at least blanker, pastures.

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