Blight and Vacancy at Two Corners of 12th & Spring Garden

At 12th & Spring Garden, the southwest corner features a property that looks positively awful, as our friend GroJLart wrote in the City Paper this spring (though we’ve hyperlinked his story, the link now curiously doesn’t work). It’s the site of a derelict former car repair shop that looks like it’s a Hollywood representation of a gas station after the bombs fell. It’s right across the street from the still-gorgeous Church of the Assumption, which continues to stand despite the probability of demolition in the name of development.

Looking good
Across the street

At 1200-12 Spring Garden St., four billboards stand on the land which has been bruised and neglected like a failing limb for years. The owner, listed as New 1200 Spring Garden LLC, acquired the property for just over $1M in 2008. Unfortunately, it seems all they’re interested in these days is collecting advertising dollars.

The above linked CP piece (when we were able to read it) gives a storied history of this once elegant address. It was once home to a huge mansion with a large lawn. In 1916, the Spring Garden National Bank was across the street. According to the article, the current building was constructed by 1970.

By 1942, the triangular lot on the other side of 12th Street was a lumber yard. It too has been abandoned for a number of years, prominently featuring high weeds like unruly long hair. That lot, 1126-30 Spring Garden was acquired for a little over $2M in 2007 by East Spring Garden LLC. These owners, who owe over $80K in back taxes, did try to sell the lot back in 2011, but found no takes at $2.8M.

Will someone buy this lot? Or will the owners at least pay their taxes?

Perhaps the owners of these two adjacent properties are waiting to see how projects continue to develop nearby, along North Broad Street. Like the potential casino, and Divine Lorraine restoration, for example. Nearby, the Union Transfer has proved its ability to draw crowds to the neighborhood, and it seems like nary a month goes by without another development in the “Spring Arts” neighborhood. With the proximity to the Broad Street Line as well as to Center City (an easy walk or quick bus ride), it would not be surprising if developers mobilize their interests at one or both of these sites soon. Let us hope that these interests materialize sooner rather than later.

–Lou Mancinelli