Over the past few months, a few readers have checked in with us, asking about 726-28 Market St., a building whose poor condition somehow causes it to stick out among the general grossness of Market East. We happened to be in the area the other day and were surprised to discover that there are, in fact, people living in this building.
The structure, from what we can gather, was at one point owned by the Gimbels Brothers department store. Back in 2006, 728 Market St LP purchased the building not from Gimbels, but from another party that had owned the property since 1974. According to a thread on Philadelphia Speaks, the owners of this property attempted a condo loft conversion a couple of years ago, but only completed apartments on four floors. These units, the Thomas Lofts, didn’t sell, and are currently rentals. About half of the building is comprised of incomplete apartment units, which goes really nicely with the incomplete facade.
The building has a couple of active violations, but more important is the fact that the owners are tax delinquent to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. We seem to remember the property going to sheriff’s sale earlier this year, but that it was either postponed or stayed. Unfortunate, because a new party coming in to take over and complete this building could have a very positive effect on an otherwise disappointing block of Market Street.
The people behind the corporate entity that owns this property include Michael Lichtenstein, according to numerous sources. Mr. Lichtenstein, you may recall, is the owner of the Buck Hosiery building in Kensington, the property that burned down earlier this year, resulting in the tragic deaths of two firemen. While this property obviously doesn’t represent a public danger as the old warehouse did for years before it burned, it seems clear that it would be in just about everybody’s best interest if the current owners would kindly sell the property.