Philadelphia Carburetor Closes, Townhomes Planned in its Place

Carburetor is one of those words we’ve probably heard hundreds of times over the years and while we knew it was somehow related to car engines, we confess we had no concept of its function. But we live in the age of information, and thanks to Wikipedia, we now know that a carburetor blends air and fuel for use by an internal combustion engine. We also know that carburetors haven’t really been in use for commercial cars since the late 1980s, replaced by fuel injection.

Philadelphia Carburetor and Ignition operated out of 1327 Reed St. since 1963 and while we never patronized this business, we have to think that they did more than carburetors, despite the name. Still, we have to think that business was better in the first few decades than in the last few decades. Earlier this year, the building was listed for sale and got snatched up by a developer in less than two weeks for a price of $465K. The developer is pursuing a plan to demolish the existing two-story commercial building and replace it with a pair of townhomes with parking in the rear. The project came before Passyunk Square Civic Association last month and got a letter of non-opposition, so we have to think it’ll get approved at the ZBA.

The building

The new homes will fit in nicely with the residential properties to the east, but not quite as well with the numerous garages on this block of Juniper Street. Though we’re generally fans of neighborhood retail, we’ll consider the homes an upgrade over the commercial building, both from a use and from an architectural standpoint.

Looking east on Reed St.
Looking up Juniper Street

We wonder whether, in the coming years, we’ll see some of the other commercial buildings on the 1300 block of Juniper make the leap to residential. The table seems to be set for this kind of transition, and not just because of the new homes (probably) coming to the corner. Don’t forget, just a few steps away at the corner of 13th & Reed, a warehouse is getting demolished in favor of an apartment building with a theatre company in the basement. Similar plans, sans theatre company, would seem to make sense on this block.