A reader tipped us off that the parking lot at 1314 Spring Garden St. closed down recently, as we confess, we were caught by surprise. You can see, this parking lot got plenty of use when it was operational, and it seems strange that the owners would shut it down.

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Overhead view from when the lot was operating

Alas, now the parking lot is sitting empty and unloved.

Empty parking lot

You’ll notice, there’s a US Realty sign on the fence surrounding the property, so we figured we’d reach out to them to get the lowdown. And get the lowdown we did. Apparently, the operator of the parking lot has been at it a long time, but with rising property taxes (and therefore use & occupancy taxes), the business model didn’t work anymore. This seems crazy to us, given the number of cars that were crammed into the lot, but it’s true that you can’t charge Center City rates at Broad & Spring Garden, and there’s no reason the operator would have shut down if the business remained profitable. Then again, we’re never sorry to see a surface parking lot close, and given the quality location, the size of the parcel, and the favorable zoning, the closing of the lot could be the first step in an upcoming development.

Mural Lofts across the street

Okay, we’re not there quite yet. The property is listed for sale on Loopnet (with no listed asking price), but to date no buyer has stepped forward with an offer that the owner has deemed acceptable. And honestly, the owner should shoot for the moon in terms of price, given the rapidly improving surrounding area. Across the street, the Mural Lofts building opened last year, with plans for a shopping center next door still percolating. An office building and a residential tower are planned for the northwest corner. And don’t forget all the other improvements we’ve seen on North Broad Street in recent memory. With all that in mind, we have a feeling a buyer will emerge, and we’ll see something a little better than a surface parking lot here within the next couple years.