Sephora and Blue Mercury are going to have a little more competition in the near future.


Ulta, the US beauty superstore chain, is presenting to the Center City Residents’ Association tonight with plans to move into the storefront space at 1619 Walnut St. The nationwide retailer plans to create a three-story flagship store in the newly remodeled building, which was most recently home to Brassier Perrier. As a more budget-friendly option to Sephora, and significantly lower-priced alternative to Blue Mercury, the Illinois-based company offers makeup, hair and skin care products, perfumes, and an in-store salon. Currently, the nearest locations to Philly are in Cherry Hill, Deptford, and Plymouth Meeting.

Built in 1937 and known as the Broadcast Building, 1619 Walnut Street underwent major and impressive renovations in the last year by architects from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Wulff Architects. It’s been trying
to lure tenants with its boastful two-story store front windows and sleek and modern facade. Flanked by ceviche specialists Alma de Cuba on one side, and brand spanking new British outfitter Jack Wills on the
other, this historic building is ready to take on its next life.

Lookin' good

In June of 2009, a large amount of the building’s previous black granite stone facade fell onto Walnut St.
after ripping away from its original brick, luckily missing any pedestrians and likely because it occured at 7:00am. In a previous era, this building was occupied by Westinghouse Broadcasting​ and
later CBS affiliate, KYW-TV and used for radio and television broadcasting.

Real estate information lists the retail space at 13,000 square feet, with additional office space above. The Neiman Group, an advertising, public relations and digital agency, recently relocated from Old City into a full-floor office of 5,100 sqft in the building. As stated, the meeting with the CCRA is tonight, and the ZBA hearing is scheduled for October 5.

Comin' up

As for Ulta’s possible future, anyone taking notice of the number and type of shoppers that fill this street will have little doubt that this new business will have a very bright future.

— Lauren Summers