The other day, a reader wondered about some construction activity at an odd-looking building on the northwest corner of Broad & Tasker. We’d noticed this building in the past and remember it as a WIC office, but always assumed that it was built for some other purpose.

In the past. Hilarious that Google Maps blurred a face in the mural

We did some research, which showed that the building went up in the late 1960s as a branch of Continental Bank. A Hidden City story tells us about the founding of
Continental in the mid-1960s, and that the bank was based out of the Northwestern National Bank/Broad Street Trust Co. Building at Broad & Fairmount, across from the Divine Lorraine. That handsome building, built in 1918, is still standing today.

Original home branch of Continental Bank and Trust

But back to South Philly (and please, people who live nearby, feel free to correct our telling of the history). The building at Broad & Tasker was home to the bank for a few decades, until sometime in the mid-1990s. At that point, the property experienced a series of false starts. At one point, a PNC Bank was expected to go into the space, but it seems that this never materialized. Likewise, a Blockbuster Video was proposed for the building, but that also didn’t happen. Finally, a mental health office went into the second floor space sometime in the last decade, and the WIC office followed some time after.

Current view, with a fence

Now, the tenants have vacated and a new one is on the way: Valley Green Bank. Yes, the building it returning to its original use, as Valley Green will open their third branch here in the coming months. Metcalfe Architecture and Design has done a little design work on the exterior, and we’d imagine quite a bit more on the interior.

We’re very excited to see a bank make an appearance on South Broad Street, especially a locally owned institution. Valley Green has a bit of a reputation as a place that friendlier to developers than the big banks, and it will be most helpful for applicants that the bank will be located so close to several neighborhoods that are on the rise. And while we’re still not sure what we think of that building, it’s kind of cool to see it repurposed back to its original use. Now we’re just left wondering- will the drive-thru reopen?