The garage at 1301 N. Howard St. has been around for a long time, and has stored a variety of items over the course of its history. Looking back at the zoning archive, we see that the building was used for truck storage back in the 1930s, then for paper storage in the 1960s. The current owner bought the property in the early 1980s at sheriff’s sale, and used it to store ambulances, for a time. Most recently, looking at an image from a listing, it’s been used to store old Philadelphia Weekly honor boxes.
For anyone unfamiliar, Philadelphia Weekly is a free alternative weekly newspaper. In its heyday, PW was a source of top notch local news coverage, coupled with ideas for cool stuff to do around the city. And it was probably the top source for real estate listings in town, to boot. We don’t need to remind you how much of hit print media has taken in the last fifteen years, and PW hasn’t been immune to this phenomenon. Unlike City Paper, PW remains in print, but in a much smaller format than in the past. Recently, it has moved away from distribution through honor boxes located at busy intersections and now it’s mostly distributed via drop-offs at bars, supermarkets, and stores. Hence the piles of honor boxes in this South Kensington warehouse. But those honor boxes will soon move to a new location, if they haven’t already done so.
Like we said, the interior image above comes from a property listing. The building was listed for sale a few months ago, at an asking price of $1.25M. And the zoning notice posted to the property is a pretty good indication that the building will soon change hands. With residential zoning and a 50’x75′ footprint, we assumed that the buyer would be tearing down the building and replacing it with four fancy homes. But that’s not what’s happening! Instead, the zoning notice indicates that the buyers are planning to convert the building into a restaurant.
We would have expected residential development here because of all the new homes that have been going up in this area, including the rows of homes to the north on this very block. Also, new construction residential development is much less risky than the restaurant business, so we’ve heard. But a restaurant wouldn’t be out of place here by a long shot. Lost Bread Co. is located just a few doors away on this block of Howard Street, and Kung Fu Necktie is half a block to the east on Thompson Street, with Front Street Cafe right there as well. And Frankford Avenue is just a block and a half away! As for what restaurant is looking to open here, we can’t seem to find any info online, but a little birdie tells us to expect a new Cook N Solo spot, with a different concept than any of their other places. Maybe one of the 27 people that voted in favor of the variance at last month’s SKCP meeting can fill us in on more details?