Anyone that has spent any kind of time meandering through South Philly knows that South Broad Street is home to a number of striking buildings, some of which are still in pretty good shape despite the passage of time. The Historical Commission agrees with our assertion, and in 2014 crafted a memo that calls out a few dozen properties on South Broad Street that could be considered contributing to a “residential thematic district.” 1316 S. Broad St. was among the properties on that list, and if you ever saw the building, you could understand why it would draw admiration from the Historical Commission.
Notice that we used the past tense there, because the building is no longer there. We passed by the property earlier today and discovered that the building has been demolished and 1318 S. Broad St. has been gutted. What happened?
What happened was a fire, which took place in August on last year. The building was not occupied, but one firefighter was hospitalized, suffering from smoke inhalation. Clearly, the damage from the conflagration was so significant that the building could not be maintained. It’s a real shame.
An interesting twist, the property changed hands just two months before the fire after sitting on the market for nine months. The listing indicated that each building had permits for seven units even though the lots are zoned for single-family use. The new owner paid $1.25M for the two buildings, and we have to think they’ll rebuild 1316 S. Broad St. and accommodate the same number of apartments. Next door, we wonder whether they’ll subdivide 1318 S. Broad St., which runs all the way to Carlisle Street, and build a home or a multi-unit building on the back side. For the latter approach, of course, they would need a variance.
One more thing we should mention, the person who previously owned these buildings still owns a property on this block, the long shuttered Meglio Furs at the corner of Broad & Wharton. As they’ve now shown a willingness to part with some of their property, perhaps this means we can expect to see them sell the rest of it in the near future. Should that happen, we just hope that whoever buys the Meglio Furs building reuses the old sign.