Pair of Buildings For Sale at 29th & Master

We were killing time in Brewerytown the other day, randomly looking for anything of interest while awaiting a Rybrew lunch meeting. On 29th Street, we discovered a double-wide property with a ‘For Sale’ sign, and snapped a couple of photos with the plan of investigating later. Later has come, and now we can tell you a little something about this property, which sits at the northeast corner of 29th & Master.

View at the corner
Home at 1403 N. 29th St.

Looking at some old listings, we see that the corner property was once home to an establishment called the Jewel Box Bar. But those same listings give us a sense that the building has been vacant for at least a decade and that it remains in shell condition. The current owners bought the property a couple years back, paying about $190K. Since then, they’ve cleaned out the buildings and gotten permits for ground floor retail and two apartments at the corner and a single family home next door. Those permits would, ostensibly, transfer to a new owner, assuming someone is willing to pay the asking price, which is currently sitting at $450K.

Like so many other buildings along 29th Street in Brewerytown, the corner building has some wonderful bones, with a corner turret providing a splash of architectural flourish. We’re hopeful that whoever buys these buildings ultimately uses the permits already in place and opts for a renovation, and not demolition and new construction. We have a funny feeling that a new building wouldn’t hold a candle to the design elements in the current building.

One other thing to consider is the retail space at the first floor. On the one hand, neighborhood retail is great! On the other hand, the West Girard commercial corridor continues to improve in fits and starts, and we wonder, from a planning perspective, whether all the businesses coming to this part of town would be best served by sticking with the corridor. What do you think? Is it better for the neighborhood for this space to remain commercial? Or would an apartment make more sense at this point?