A reader tipped us off recently about some ongoing demolition at 1262 N. 29th St., at the southwest corner of 29th & Thompson. This handsome building was home to an active corner store until somewhat recently, so it was perhaps a little surprising to hear that it was coming down. Then again, with the ever-improving Girard Avenue corridor just a block to the south, it wasn't that much of a shock.
When you see this kind of demolition, you can't help but think that a developer has purchased the property and is planning some new project for the site. But looking at public record, the building hasn't changed hands since 1985. Great Scott, what's happening?
It turns out the building was in worse condition than we might have guessed. It had a collection of structural violations dating back to 2013 and it seems that in the absence of the owners complying, the City took matters into its own proverbial hands. While we're quite sad to see such a good looking building come down, it's certainly better than it coming down of its own accord. Incidentally, a similar scene is playing out around the corner at 2907 W. Thompson St., though that building looked to be in much worse condition. It's now fenced-in and with the City considering it imminently dangerous we imagine it will come down soon as well. Kudos to property owners PHA for allowing the building to deteriorate to this point. We wonder, will the City force them to pay the bill?
Regarding to corner property, we wonder if/when it will get rebuilt. Sadly, there is absolutely no chance that the replacement building will approach the architectural character of the structure currently getting torn down, nor do we expect it will contain a corner commercial space. With the commercial corridor so close we don't see that as much of a loss, but can we ask for a cornice at the very least?
As for the PHA property on Thompson Street, we would wager it will sit vacant for the foreseeable future once demolition is finished. Two long-blighted PHA homes were demolished two years ago at 20th & Kimball and the land continues to sit vacant. Sadly, we imagine a similar future for this parcel. But hey, condemning over 1,300 properties in Sharswood and handing them off to PHA seems like a fantastic idea.