Hellen's Cleaners has held down the southwest corner of 20th & South for as long as we can remember. Considering the sustained success of that business, it's a little surprising that the owners of the building across the street on the southeast corner have struggled to find a long-term tenant. For quite some time, this handsome building was used as a part-time gallery, until Philly Cupcake opened a location here in early 2013. Less than a year later, possibly because of issues with the landlord and maybe because cupcakes just didn't work at this location, they closed their doors. We were sad to see the business go, but happy to see their paint job reversed.
The space sat vacant for awhile, and we heard rumors that a real estate office was taking it over, but that never materialized. For the first half of this year, some guy used it as a campaign office in an unsuccessful run for City Council, and it's been vacant since the summer. But recently we spotted zoning notices on the building, indicating that a tenant is indeed serious about the space.
Last week, at the SOSNA zoning committee meeting, the community heard plans for a UPS retail store for this space. The store will accept packages from residents looking for a shipping option and will also receive packages for people who can't meet the truck at home. It will also offer limited copying services. In terms of traffic, a UPS truck will stop at the store twice daily to pick up and drop off packages. It seems likely that there will be some dropoff/pickup traffic from customers, but we'd expect most will come through on foot.
The project still must go before the ZBA, but we'd imagine it will get approval. And while we have some concerns about truck traffic and accessibility to the building, this will provide a new kind of service to the South Street West corridor and the surrounding neighborhoods. We just hope that 1) they're able to last for more than a year, and 2) they don't take a paint brush to the exterior of the building.