Old City is one of the more interesting places to live in Philadelphia. The neighborhood has historic buildings, art galleries, upscale apartments, fancy restaurants, quality drinking establishments, horrible drinking establishments, cinemas, waterfront access, theaters, and more. It seems reasonable that with all the things the neighborhood has going for it nary a building would be vacant or blighted. But as we've seen time and time again, it simply isn't the case here. While some long-vacant properties have been fixed up in recent years, others, like the former home of Synapse Cafe have continued to languish. Today, we present 20 S. 3rd St., a building that's looked vacant for years which is now getting renovated.

In the past

We can't say we remember, but it seems that this building was once home to an umbrella store. The sign on the building refers those of us interested in online umbrella shopping to their website, which looks like the mid-1990s. You can see in the photo above that the building didn't look great, with parts of the facade possibly rotting. A year and a half ago a new owner stepped in, paying $300K for the property. As you can see, renovations are now in full swing.

Under construction

Looking up

According to the permits (which are really confusing in this case), they're building an addition in the rear and creating eight one-bedroom units plus a commercial space. The metal security gate apparatus, which uglies up the building, is being eliminated. The facade is being restored behind all those tarps. Harman Deutsch is doing the architectural work.

When the project is completed, Old City will have one less rough-looking property on their list. Hopefully, the other stragglers left in the neighborhood will soon fall in line as well. Hey, if the Samuel Machinery building can get (agonizingly slowly) brought back, it can happen for any property, right?