It was nearly a decade ago, in the fall of 2012, when we last checked in on 1525 Chestnut St. in Rittenhouse. Back then we noted that this mini-skyscraper was primed for redevelopment, when a restaurant proposal followed a hotel proposal that went to the wayside during the financial crisis. Since then, the property has remained vacant, and in an unusual twist, it happens to be owned by former Philadelphia Phillie Garry Maddox. The Gold Glove-winning centerfielder was a member of the World Series champion 1980 team and is included in one of our favorite sports quotes: “Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water, the other one-third by Garry Maddox.”

It appears Garry must be busy, as zoning documents were recently approved for an addition to the historically designated Pomerantz Building, which had been the former home of a furniture company that was also owned by Maddox. In a surprising turn of events, it seems that the project will take a little inspiration from its former use and recent proposals. Let’s check out the site first to get a feel for the building in question.

View of 1525 Chestnut, with Two Liberty just down the street
A view of the no-longer-with-us sign from our previous visit

So what the heck is coming? Plans call for an overbuild atop the seven-story building, rising to a total of ten stories. The addition will be set back from the Chestnut Street side as not to disturb current sight lines, though it will be flush with the Ranstead Street side of the building. We don’t have full details as of yet, but we now know that the first two levels of the building will feature CDI Furniture, a Montréal-based furniture company. The remaining floors will consist of 46 short term stay units from Sonder, a company that’s seemingly everywhere in the city these days. Parallel Architecture Studio is handling design duties, so let’s see what’s in store.

A gorgeous shot of the cornice, courtesy of the Inquirer/Tyger Williams
A massing diagram provides some idea of what to expect
Front and back elevations maintain scale and rhythm of windows and floor heights

We are very excited to see more detailed plans for this, as the Historical Commission will get to weigh in once things are ready to roll given its designated status. It is pretty wonderful that this striking skinny skyscraper will continue its tradition in furniture. The 46 units will also add more foot traffic to the area at all hours of the day, which is certainly not a bad thing along Chestnut as it approaches Broad. Here’s hoping that the renovation will give this unique building some fresh love, reactivating a long dormant asset along the Chestnut Street corridor.