We’ve wondered about the “Walnut Place” building at 312 Walnut St. for over a decade, confused about how a lovely building in a desirable location could sit vacant, with (almost definitely lead) paint peeling off its historic-looking window frames. Now, according to an article from the Philadelphia Business Journal, this building will soon come back into use for the first time in over fifteen years.

Peeling paint

Six stories high

According to some thoroughly researched marketing materials, this building was originally constructed in 1926, for use as an office building. The interior square footage is about 68,460 sqft, which includes two basement levels. In addition, a 34-car parking lot is located behind the building.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia purchased the building in 1996, and had unfulfilled plans to turn it into a Catholic Heritage Center. Ultimately, this simply turned out to be a very profitable real estate investment for the Archdiocese, with profits in the four-million dollar range on the sale of the property to Nolen Properties and PMC Property Group.

Looking up

The developers’ plan for the building is the creation of 66 rental apartment units, with a commercial space on the first floor. The Business Journal article indicated that the neighborhood preferred condo units for this building, but the developers were not able to procure financing. Instead, the neighbors will have to settle for rentals in the adaptive reuse of a historic building that’s been vacant for far too long. And with views of some of our nation’s historic sites, maybe tenant turnover won’t be too bad.

Hopefully, this project will kick into gear in short order.