What Will Happen to the Former Please Touch Museum?

A nice building

In 2008, the Please Touch Museum moved to beautiful new digs at Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park after delighting children at their location at the corner of 21st and Race Sts. for twenty-five years. Since that time, the building has sat vacant, waiting for a new owner to take advantage of its fantastic location. In actuality, the Please Touch Museum not only operated out of the handsome former warehouse building in the picture above, but it also owns the sort of gross looking building on the corner and the row home to the north.

Large, but not so nice
Kind of a standard two story row

The buildings are for sale as a packageĀ  for $4.5M and are listed by Binswanger. The building on the corner is 22K sqft., the middle building is 38K sqft., and the row home is 7K sqft. That’s a huge 67K sqft of interior space altogether. So who is going to buy these buildings and what will they do with them? With the Franklin Institute around the corner and the Academy of Natural Sciences a block away, we could imagine another museum in this location- though money would likely be a huge issue. Condos? Certainly a possibility, though we’d tear down the ugly building on the corner and build single family homes. Retail would seem to be a tough fit- way too much space. On the other hand, perhaps the seller would split up the parcels.

Whatever ends up ultimately occupying this large space will certainly have an impact on the neighborhood. Unfortunately, it probably won’t offer quite as many warm and fuzzy feelings to tens of thousands of people who grew up around here as the Please Touch Museum.

The New Please Touch Museum. So fabulous, yet so far away. Image by Duncan Pearson