A sprawling six-acre property that backs up to Cobbs Creek Park is for sale on eBay for $4.5M. Perhaps an internet giant might be interested in the site. Or an established institution looking to expand.


Closer look

Originally constructed as the Baptist Orphanage in 1885, according to the ad, 1300 S. 58 St. was most recently owned and operated by the Church of Bible Understanding, which acquired the property in 1998 for $1.5M, according to city records.  The site first shows up on Philadelphia historical maps in G.W. Bromley’s 1895 Philadelphia Atlas. There it’s depicted between Thomas and Whitby Avenues. By 1910, Cobb’s Creek Parkway had been constructed between the site and the park.

in 1895

The oldest structure on the site dates back to 1929. More remodeling work was done in the late 1950s and 60s. The site includes an administration building with a commercial kitchen, cafeteria and chapel, offices and a finished basement. It also includes four roughly 5500 sqft cottage homes, a 3K sqft building, a 2500 sqft cottage, and an almost 3K sqft gymnasium. There’s almost 50K sqft of building space, a 25-car parking lot and pool.

View from above

Hmm. Do you know a small start-up college looking for a new campus? Maybe an online gig is looking for some bricks? Or maybe a private school needs a new campus?

New home for South Harmon Institute of Technology?

While this site is probably too far outside Center City, or anywhere where development is buzzing like an electric saw, it’s definitely the sort of property rarely seen in Philadelphia. Perhaps the school district could step in and make this site work for consolidating a couple of area schools? Then again, the district though is probably faced with too many financial woes, closing schools and trying to sell others to make it work. But it’s a thought.

–Lou Mancinelli