You may recall, a couple weeks back, we told you about plans to renovate the building at 1201 Wharton St., which would represent a new chapter for a structure that’s had a number of uses over the years. As we told you previously, we believe the place was built as a storage facility for a grocery business, eventually transitioning into an auto garage, as shown in the black and white photo below. In recent decades, the building was used as by a plumbing business, which doesn’t really feel like the highest and best use at this prominent Passyunk Square corner.
We pointed out the zoning notice on the building and told you that developers were hoping to add a third floor to the existing building, with plans for retail on the front of the first floor and ten units throughout the rest of the building. As the zoning notice indicates, this is not a by-right plan for the property, which means that community support will likely be an important element to the conversation- and we suggested that an adaptive reuse that respects the architectural history of the building might be a good path to receiving said support. But we had no idea how the developers were planning to attack this particular project… but we do now.
Flow Development, the same group that’s working on the significant project at 1700 Germantown Ave., is the team behind this project. On their website, they have a page dedicated to the development which also includes some renderings which show us exactly what we can expect. Several of those renderings can be seen above, where you’ll surely notice most of the original windows reopened, some of the smaller windows replaced by larger openings, and an addition that contrasts from the original building and is set back from the street to differentiate it further. Assuming the project gets the approval it needs, this will be a welcome change for this property- honoring the past while looking forward to the future. As for the 1,500 sqft retail space, we wonder what kind of business will take over- at the very least, you can probably safely bet that it won’t be another plumber. What would you like to see here?