Old City is great. It's where America was born! The architecture is wonderful. The stores are plentiful and adorable. There's like a million coffee shops. First Friday is always a good choice. And on a Saturday night in some establishments, it's like visiting New Jersey without having to pay a toll.
The neighborhood is extremely well established, having gone through a major development push years ago. Of late, we've covered multiple residential developments in the area, with several high-end homes currently under construction and the massive 205 Race project finally on the way we hope. In spite of all the great stuff in the neighborhood though, there's still a number of blighted properties to be found. One of them, thankfully, is on the way out.
223-27 Chestnut St. has a long and varied history, detailed by GrojLart a couple years ago on Hidden City. It was built in the mid-1800s and served for a time as the Consulate for the German Empire and the Meyer & Dickinson Import Company. Around the turn of the century, the building housed the Security Bank Note Company and a few decades later it bacame the United States Public Health Service Hospital. In the 1970s, it turned into the Museum for the United American Indians of the Delaware Valley. A decade ago, the museum closed its doors and the building has been vacant since. In 2008, plans came and went to convert the historic building into a boozy day spa. That developer went bust, and it took several years for PIDC to pry the property out of their hands.
According to a Hidden City post from last month, the building now belongs to Posel Management. As you can see in the photo above, construction is well underway. There will be offices on the upper floors and The First Church of Christ Scientist will take over the first floor space. Collaborating with the Historical Commission, the developers have had to remove some of the iron facade of the corner building, but we're confident the replacement will resemble to lost structure.
Sure, the uses don't take your breath away. And the construction near the corner of 3rd & Chestnut right now (along with the work happening for the Museum of the American Revolution). Nevertheless, we're just glad to see that this building is coming back to life.