The building at 631 N. Broad St. dates back to 1867, and as you might expect from a building that’s been around since the Andrew Johnson administration, it’s had a number of uses over the years. It was originally constructed as the Edwin Hart Stables, a function that’s called out on an inscription that has remained on the building’s facade after all this time. As the years passed, several car companies, a sewing machine company, a hosiery company, a couple of drug companies, and an art gallery occupied the building, though not all at once, obviously. Back in 2015, we told you that developers had purchased the building and were planning a residential conversion, with an addition that would allow for a total of 41 apartments. We were pleased that the project called for the preservation of the existing facade and had high hopes for the plan to add more apartments to the improving North Broad Street corridor.
We passed by the property earlier today and the project, dubbed Stable Lofts, looks to be close to the finish line. The original facade looks considerably better than it did before, as it appears the bricks were cleaned and repointed. There are new windows in the old window openings, which is to be expected, but the first floor windows are markedly different, making for a much more attractive ground floor retail space. Given the types of businesses that have opened in nearby buildings, we’d expect a restaurant to take over the 4,500 sqft retail space. Certainly, the large window openings will only help. As for the addition, we tip our hats to developers North Broad Living Management on the large windows and the industrial style, echoing some other buildings nearby on North Broad. It’s clear that this addition wasn’t always here, but if you squint a little, it blends in well enough.
This is certainly a significant change for this block, and we foresee more changes in the future. Nobody would argue that the short building to the north or the adjacent Meineke are the highest or best uses for a pair of prominent lots on North Broad Street, and with Stable Lofts looking the way it does, these properties seem even more out of place than before.
Developers purchased both properties last year, paying a combined $4.4M for the pair. We don’t see any permits for either property at this time, but we have to think that both will get redeveloped at some point in the near future, probably in the mixed-use vein like Stable Lofts. It’s probably pretty safe to assume that whatever eventually gets built won’t look as cool, though.