Last summer, we learned from Hidden City of plan to transform the iconic northeast corner of 3rd & Market. The fame of this corner came not from architectural creativity nor did it relate to any famous events that took place there. Instead, people know this corner by its sign. This address has been known for many years as the 'Shirt Corner,' due to the garish and impossible to miss signage that the store of the same name painted there four decades ago. Since the store closed in 2009, a couple of proposals have emerged for the row of properties that made up the store, and last year a plan from Alterra Property Group received the necessary approvals.
The Alterra plan was seen favorably because it sought to preserve the buildings currently on the site, chipping off the paint and restoring them to a semblance of their original appearance from almost two-hundred years ago. Mixed in with the old buildings was to be a couple of new structures, along with the restoration of the upper stories of the building on the corner, which were lost to a fire. Using different brick colors to delineate between old and new, this project would have avoided a common mistake we see in attempts to pass off new construction as historic-looking. The rendering below shows the restored buildings with 59 apartments and a CVS on the corner.
Today, we learned from Inga Saffron that the original plan for the site is now being scrapped. Recently, engineers found cracks in the walls of the buildings behind now-removed drywall. Those cracks apparently indicate that the building is imminently dangerous, and eliminates the possibility that they can be restored. The developer still plans to build on the original foundations, and we expect that the new structures will strongly resemble those we see in the rendering. It's still a shame, though, that the original buildings will have to come down.
Demolition is expected to begin tomorrow, so if you'd like to catch one more glimpse of the Shirt Corner, today might be your last chance.