Considering how little distance it covers, there's a disproportionate amount of stuff happening on 21st Street between Race and Spring Streets. This block is most famous as the home of the Please Touch Museum for decades until its move to Fairmount Park. It's perhaps slightly less famous for its views of the IMAX theater at the Franklin Institute. This blog has visited the block on several occasions, generally to provide updates about the construction of a project at the corner of 21st & Race which seems to have dragged on.
Matzi Builders and Developers tore down an old school district building over two years ago in anticipation of constructing eight large and high-end homes. The project is aptly called the Eight on Race. A year ago, we checked in and saw that four of the eight were framed out. Today, those four homes are approaching completion at last. We're not sure but we're under the impression that at some point construction slowed considerably or stopped entirely. Are we right, people who live near here?
Passing by the other day, we spied workers on the site and foundations for the next round of homes. We'd guess that the developers are asking at least $1.75M per home, though we cannot find any listings for the properties so we don't know for sure. Though we've seen a boom in super-high end homes in recent years, we have no doubt that the developers will find buyers. Location plus huge nice house equals buyers these days.
It seems that one of the bigger developers in town have their eye on this block as well. A couple months ago, Philly Mag reported that Toll Brothers had an agreement in place to purchase the former Please Touch Museum building, which we believe is historically certified. According to minutes from several Logan Square Neighborhood Association meetings, Toll met with neighbors a few months ago to present plans to demolish the building and replace it with a five-story building with 35 condos and underground parking. The neighbors did not like this plan. Toll came back at the end of April with a modified plan and the neighbors were still not on board. No word on whether Toll will continue to pursue this project, but it certainly bears watching.
Now onto something more fun. Darling's Cafe closed down awhile back after several years at the corner of 21st & Spring. Recently, Peddler Coffee opened in their place. They describe themselves as a "small lot, single origin, boutique coffee roasting company." They have a nice little shop and some delicious coffee, so you should check 'em out.
We couldn't tell you how they feel about the possible demolition of the handsome building next door, but we imagine they wouldn't object to dozens of new customers. If only there existed some kind of method or technology to "adapt" old buildings and "reuse" them for residential purposes. That way the old building could stick around and the new coffee shop could get some new neighbors.
Ah forget it, we'll never figure out how to do something like that. Dumb idea, sorry.