At the end of October, hundreds of excited shoppers let out a collective scream of excitement when Nordstrom Rack opened their doors at 17th & Chestnut in the space that was most recently home to Daffy's. Remember, we told you this was coming back in October of 2013. The building, whose history we documented extensively this spring, was built in 1928 for department store Bonwit Teller and that's been its only other tenant to date. Back in the day, the department store took up every floor of the building. Now, Nordstrom Rack only covers the first three floors. This means there's a whole lot of empty space in the building- but not for long.
According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the five upper floors are in line to be converted into apartments. Pearl Properties bought the building recently from the New York firm that inherited the property went Daffy's went through bankruptcy. This property joins a collection of other Pearl buildings in the vicinity, including The Sansom which was built last year and is home to the excellent Dizengoff and Abe Fisher. With 10,000 sqft floor plates over the upper floors, we can imagine between thirty and sixty new units coming online when they're done the renovation.
With a new Nordstrom Rack and apartments coming, this building represents a juxtaposition of two major trends we're seeing in this part of Center City. As we've covered over the last couple of years, several new apartment buildings have sprouted up and others, like the former AAA building, have been converted to residential. At the same time, we've seen a bunch of new stores pop up on Walnut and Chestnut Streets that we haven't seen before in Philadelphia, with a Uniqlo and a Forever 21 coming soon to name just a couple. It seems these trends are showing no signs of slowing down, which bodes well for downtown residents of today, and even better for those yet to come.