The Corn Exchange National Bank building has always been one of our favorites, both because of its impressive Neo-Classical architectural design and our desperate desire to open an account at an institution with such an amazing name. Alas, there hasn’t been a corn bank in Philadelphia for decades, leaving our dreams unfulfilled. Over the years, the former bank at 3rd & Arch has led an interesting life, as it was used for housing for the Seaman’s Church Institute, as a gallery, and in recent years, as an event space. Most famously and perhaps most disgustingly, it was used as the home for season 15 of the Real World.
The image above was cribbed from Google Street View because the building doesn’t look like this right now; it’s entirely covered while it undergoes a massive renovation. Cloud hosting provider Linode bought the building a couple years ago, and are renovating it to become their new corporate headquarters. While the inside will be totally redone, the historic exterior can’t undergo too many changes. Still, it’ll get cleaned up dramatically.
As part of their $4.3M purchase, Linode also picked up the surface parking parking lot across the street on 3rd Street and plan to continue to use it as such. When we passed by the other day, it was completely filled with trucks belonging to the contractors doing the renovation work, and when construction is done, it’ll be an employee lot. We’ve made our opinions clear about surface parking lots many times over the years, so we’re clearly not thrilled that this lot will be remaining as a parking lot for the foreseeable future.
Then again, maybe the employees won’t get as much use out of this lot as expected. Perhaps, somewhere along the line, a development partner will step in that’s interested in building an apartment building that floats above a parking lot. Some spaces would clearly need to be reserved for residents in such a plan, but it could be a cool opportunity for Linode to pick up a few extra bucks by selling their air rights. It’s not something we see too often in this town, but as the market remains white hot in Center City neighborhoods, it could become more prevalent in the future.