Mural Lofts a Great Addition to North Broad Street

Ridiculous light masts aside, the last few years have been very very good to North Broad Street. We've actually lost count of the number of buildings that have been repurposed as apartments, adding new residents and a vibrancy that had been missing here for decades. The lastest addition to the mix is Mural Lofts, a project from EB Realty which converted the former Thaddeus Stevens School of Practice into 59 apartments at Broad & Spring Garden. The name of the project comes from the awesome mural on the building's western wall, a mural you've probably noticed at some point when passing by on Broad Street.

Current view of the building

The mural, a few years back

As you can see, the building's architecture is wonderful, and we're fortunate that the developers were able to reuse the structure, built in 1926. Though the building was used more recently as an administration building, it retained many original details inside. Some of those features have been integrated into the apartments units.

Original blackboard great for solving complex equations. Or a grocery list.

Original window details

Years ago, we pondered this building, shortly after EB Realty put the property under contract. At that time, they were considering a mix of apartments on the lower floors and "art-based commercial uses" on the upper floors. We're not sure what led to the change in concept, nor are we exactly sure what art-basd commercial uses would have entailed, we're just pleased that the building has been preserved and renovated. We also previously wondered about the large vacant lot next door, at the corner. Per Plan Philly, there are plans for a future retail complex there, but we don't have any more details at the moment.

For those who might want to live here, Mural Lofts features a mix of one and two bedroom units, with prices for the smaller units starting at $1275/month and the larger units starting at $2470/month. Even if you're mildly interested in renting an apartment, it's probably worth taking a tour, just to see the cool reuse efforts in person.

Next up for EB Realty, the Divine Lorraine! Soon enough, folks.

  • PlaidArmour

    If a home could be a beautiful tragedy this would be it. With heavy emphasis on tragedy and beautiful meaning jaw-dropping in the wtf category.

  • Architecture is Important

    Agree that this looks tacky as hell, but you have to commend the builder for actually paying attention to the exterior architecture, rather than building a bland brick box as so many developers do.

    • D.W.C.

      And without the horrible chrome-like window boxes they love so much.

  • pucca

    I barely noticed the stone and stucco because of that door trim.

  • JH1234

    They took a shot. And when you take a shot you win some and lose some. They lost, but god bless ’em for trying.

  • joe smith

    Clearly, there’s no accounting for taste or decent workmanship. That architectural abortion over the doorway is so cockeyed it gives me vertigo.

  • guest

    Moral of the story is, as always, just because you own a copy of autocad doesn’t make your an architect. Want a great design, hire a great designer..

  • “We’re not fans of the aesthetic of going with stone for the first few feet of the facade, but we can appreciate how someone could enjoy that look.”

    I agree about faux stone bases and stucco walls:

    • NakedPhillyFox

      That right there, is a good one.

  • Stewart

    Aesthetics aside…..did everyone miss the fact that it sold? Quickly and for close to $400K? All it takes is one person to like it.

  • We should at least give them credit for the cornice.

    • Architecture is Important

      Yep, I’ve seen a lot of developers cheap out on not having a proper looking cornice, so kudos to these guys for that.

  • Jen

    Why aren’t there any windows on the 2nd and 3rd floor on the parking lot side?

    • pushpin

      I would assume that the upper wall is on a property line. Therefore, you can’t legally install windows. The setback on the first floor presumes a future alley for rear yard access in the event that another structure replaced the adjacent parking lot.

      • Strangely didn’t stop them from running bathroom (or dryer) vents out that wall.

  • Claude M. Schrader

    I like it other than the huge goofy arch. The stone base is a classic look that matches a lot of the housing stock in philly, and the cornice is nice. Hopefully the owner adds a little color to the facade.

    that being said, the huge arches over the door are a little crazy.

  • Jim Roletter

    I bet a nickel that whoever built this house wasn’t born in this country. I’m just saying.