What’s up with these five buildings in Old City?

For years, we’ve wondered about 27-35 S. 2nd St., a curiously dilapidated stretch of buildings in the heart of Old City.

27-33 S. 2nd St

In just the past couple of years, these buildings have definitely improved. Formerly boarded up windows have been replaced with new windows in all but one of the buildings, ostensibly indicating new condos or apartments in the upstairs units. In addition, a few months ago, Liberty Bell Food Market opened in one of the storefronts. This market offers high end grocery items, take-out beverages, and flowers and makes a huge difference on the block, even though it’s surrounded by two vacant commercial spaces.

Comparing the current images to those from Google from a couple of years ago, we can clearly see the major improvements to the buildings.

A big difference

Twenty five years ago, before Old City made its transition to a condo and food/nightlife hotspot, there were countless buildings like these all over the neighborhood, languishing historic buildings slowly deteriorating together. As time has passed, more and more of the buildings in the neighborhood have been rehabbed, though there are still several shells that remain. These five have always been striking to us, perhaps because they’re collectively more noticeable than one blighted property at a time, or maybe because of the bustling nature of the block they’re located on.

Does anyone know any back story on these properties? Absentee owners? Have new owners come in recently and put in windows? Is there hope that the commercial spaces could all become active storefronts in the near future? What about the northernmost building, which doesn’t appear to have had any work done on it at all?

Looks like a shell
The new market. Not to be confused with New Market
Shuttered
Waldman? And a sports bar next door.

Any insight from people in that neighborhood would be much appreciated.