It seems like, these days, every time an old auto garage changes hands, the new owners look to tear it down in favor of new construction. That’s why it’s so refreshing to share some news, for a change, about a building that was once home to a car fixin’ business that’s sticking around because of a residential conversion. Such is the case at 1705 Jackson St., which was looking pretty rough until quite recently.

1705 Jackson Old
In the past

This property, which you’ve more likely noticed from West Passyunk Avenue and not from Jackson Street, was an auto shop and car showroom dating back to at least the 1930s. By the 1990s, the space on the first floor was used for fabric sales, with a day care eventually taking over the space around the year 2000. In recent memory, the second floor of the building has been vacant. But not for long!

Current view
New windows
View on Jackson St.

Developers bought this property last year, and are converting that second floor into 11 apartments. With an additional unit on the ground floor, that will make an even dozen residences in the building, and according to the permits, a day care will be coming back to the retail space on the ground floor.

From the street, it looks like the building is getting an addition, but that’s just some new pilot houses which will provide roof deck access for four of the units. Also, and not for nothing, the new windows are a great improvement over the old, worn warehouse windows. We have to think that a paint job will be forthcoming, though what’s left of the old paint job does afford the building a certain degree of industrial gravitas.

Upon further consideration, and especially when we consider the ghost signs on the Jackson Street side, we hope the building doesn’t get a paint job after all. On the other hand, we’d be totally thrilled to see the metal roll down security gates disappear after all the construction wraps up. While we appreciate that they’re sometimes necessary, they look awful every time.