development opportunity

Sold for more than we'd have expected

At the northeast corner of 7th & Morris, developers built a trio of new homes over the last year, replacing a surface parking lot. We told you about the project when construction was just getting started, and if you visit the intersection today you'll notice that the homes are finished. One odd architectural detail, the corner home has a nice sized bay with some hilariously small windows. We get it, the bathrooms have to go somewhere, but it seems like a missed opportunity to add natural light to the home with two frontages.

Two longtime businesses are for sale

If you're in the restaurant business in Philadelphia, it's likely you've spent some quality time on 2nd Street in Old City, buying supplies and/or equipment for your establishment. A decade ago, which is roughly as far back as we can remember, there were three restaurant supply companies on 2nd Street, all of which had been operating there for many years. Trenton China Pottery was located at the northeast corner of 2nd & Arch, Economy was at the southeast corner of 2nd & Arch, and Swift Food Equipment was a little to the north on 2nd Street, almost at Race.

As you might know, TCP closed several years ago, and their building was converted to residential use. Economy and Swift are still doing their thing, but the combination of internet competition and a ridiculous real estate market may be conspiring to end the the reigns of both businesses in Old City. By this we mean Economy and Swift have both listed their bricks on the market.

But a building would be better still

We were grabbing a coffee in Old City the other day, and something unexpected caught our eye on the 200 block of Market Street. It was a beer garden! 240 Market St. has been sitting vacant since the auction house that previously stood there burned down in 1987. According to a City Paper (pour one out) story from 2013, the property is owned by Victor Gordon, who also owns a shop on 3rd Street that sells various African statues and other carvings. Gordon has had some kind of a beef with the City over the years, and the article claims that he left his Market Street lot vacant and overgrown more or less out of spite for the City. Not for nothing, it looked pretty awful.

Getting a variance might be tricky

If you ran Broad Street on Sunday, and you're a tourist, perhaps you made your way to Pat's or Geno's to reload after your triumphant ten mile run. If you did indeed visit either establishment over the weekend, it's possible you noticed some relatively new 'For Sale' signs in the immediate vicinity.


Pat's Steaks, with Geno's lurking behind

Lot for sale on the southeast corner of 9th & Wharton

This property is also for sale

We've covered both of these properties before, and for different reasons. There was a vacant building at 848 Wharton St. for many years, until it partially collapsed after a snowstorm in 2014. It was demolished soon after and to be honest, the vacant lot is a better look at the corner than the empty building. Still, it's not ideal.

Auctions are always a fun way to go

If you've always wanted to own a mixed-use building with a grocery/sandwich shop on the first floor, consider this the sound of opportunity knocking. We were in Point Breeze the other day and noticed a sign on 1439 S. 20th St., advertising that the building will be going to auction. Associated Auctioneers will be handling the sale, which will take place on April 26th at high noon. Or just regular noon, if you prefer.


The property

We often wonder why property owners opt for an auction instead of simply listing their building for sale, and in this case it turns out that the property was listed for sale with a realtor at $400K earlier this year. But the owners apparently didn't get any bites at the price they desired, so now they're trying the auction route. The old listing tells us that the building has about 3,700 sqft inside, with a store on the first floor paying $1,200/mo. There are four units upstairs, with a pair of one-bedrooms, an efficiency, and a three-bedroom unit that's in shell condition. Two of the apartments are occupied, with the tenants paying a combined $650/mo. With some major renovation effort, this building presents considerable opportunity for higher rent numbers.

Former offices for Famous 4th Street Cookie Company

Everything must go on Fabric Row, at least on the block just south of Bainbridge Street. A few months ago, we told you that Famous 4th Street Deli was listed for sale for $5M, in a listing that included the bricks of its home, the double wide building at the southwest corner of 4th & Bainbridge. We were in the area the other day, and noticed a sign on a row of buildings at 706-10 S. 4th St., which we believe were once associated with the deli. Over the last decade or so, the Famous 4th Street Cookie Company home office was located here, but that business was sold and moved to larger warehouse space in East Falls. As a result, three mixed-use buildings could be yours for a cool $3M.

It certainly could happen

Parking sure is tough in Center City, and it could soon get tougher. You may recall, last month we told you that we had heard that developers were buying the parking garage on the 2000 block of Lombard Street and would close it by the end of the year. We predicted that this building would be demolished and replaced with town homes in a by-right project, as the property is zoned for multi-family use. Needless to say, this would result in the loss of a couple hundred parking spots for the neighborhood.


Garage on the 2000 block of Lombard

For those wringing their hands about this project, we've got more bad news. At the same time that this property was listed for sale, another property, 414 S. 16th St., was also listed just a few blocks away. And in case you're wondering, it's also a parking garage. While we'd heard about movement for the garage on Lombard Street, we hadn't heard much about the garage on 16th Street. But in the last couple days, we've heard rumblings that this garage is also under agreement. We have to imagine that this will mean it will also close its doors in the near future, with residential redevelopment a likely outcome.

But wouldn't you want to buy it?

Though we've probably passed by on numerous occasions, the vacant lot at 3200 Baring St. somehow escaped our attention until quite recently. The parcel is a nice size, about 7,500 sqft, and sits across the street from Drexel Park, on the edge of Drexel's campus.


The lot

Drexel Park, across the street

A sign on the fence around the property suggests that it's available for lease, and provides a phone number. We called that number a couple time but weren't able to reach anyone to find out whether the property is still available and if so, how much they're asking per month. If you look closely at the property, you can see it was painted for a parking lot at some point but we're not sure whether it was ever used as such. If it was, it looks like it's been a long time. Worth noting, if someone were to lease the lot for parking, we're pretty sure they'd need to get a zoning variance.

And their longtime home has a new owner

Via Bicycle made its home at 606 S. 9th St. for about 20 years, but from the looks of the outside or the inside, you might have guessed they'd been there five times as long. But if you pass by this address today, you'll see that the shop is no longer operating there. Fear not though, Via Bicycle is still with us, just in a new location. Their new space is smaller, but a location at 622 S. Broad St. could result in greater foot and, er, bike traffic.


Former Via Bicycle

You may be wondering what inspired this business to pull up their roots from their longtime retail space. A sign on the building provides some sort of explanation.

Where will Rittenhouse people park?

The 2000 block of Lombard Street is unlike any other in the city, with the Lombard Swim Club covering about half of the south side and a large parking garage taking up about a third of the north side of the block, and a bunch of homes filling things out. And while we don't imagine that the swim club will close or relocate in our lifetime, the clock could be ticking on the parking garage.


View of the garage

Lombard Swim Club across the street

At the end of last year, we got an email from MPN Realty, advertising that the parking garage at 2031 Lombard St. was available for sale. This seemed like an amazing investment opportunity, as the building sits on a quarter of an acre of land in Rittenhouse, runs street to street, and is zoned for multi-family use. A condo building would fit the bill for this spot, or a row of $1.5M to $2M homes would also make all kinds of sense on this block. After all, we've seen very successful high-end projects appear on the 1800 and 1900 blocks of Lombard Street, so a similar project on this block would seem like a slam dunk.

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