Plywood Appears on One of Our Favorite Point Breeze Buildings

1900 Federal St. is a three story corner building in Point Breeze that’s always had a special place in our hearts. The building was constructed over a hundred years ago, like so many other corner buildings in South Philly, with a retail space on the first floor and residential upstairs. We can’t know this for sure, but we’d imagine the family that owned the store on the first floor probably lived in the unit above. We don’t know the original use of the ground floor space, but we found a photo that shows it was used as a luncheonette in the mid-1950s.

Back in 1956, from Phillyhistory.org

From the front, there’s nothing terribly special about this building, though if you see the building today, you may appreciate that the lintels are painted green to match the cornice (and endorse the local football team). The reason we like this building has to do with the bay windows on the eastern side. First, it’s cool that the wood details on the bays have survived over the years, especially when you consider that the building has not been maintained very well. More unusual, at some point the bays were converted from indoor space to outdoor space, giving the building residents little balcony spaces to enjoy. This is a design element we regularly see with new construction, but we can’t think of many other examples of older buildings that take this approach.

From last summer

We passed by the building the other day, and noticed plywood covering the doors and windows on the first floor.

Current view of the building

This got us wondering, so we took a peek at public record and noticed that developers had purchased the building last year, paying $350K. The listing indicated that the building included 4 vacant apartments and 2 storefronts, but also recommended that interested buyers “enter at your own RISK,” not warranting “condition, zoning, and municipal violations.” We have to think that the new owners are now navigating those issues, but we’re optimistic, given the price they paid, that they have an endgame for the property that involves a major renovation effort. You’ve gotta think they’ll keep those sweet bays, right? And can we put in a request to maintain the color scheme?