The Academy of Social Dance, AKA the Danza Academy of Social Dance, held down a location on the 2000 block of Sansom Street for decades, teaching generations to Salsa, Mambo, Tango, Cha Cha, and so forth. Not only was this business notable for surviving for such a long time, but it also always stuck out at us for its memorable signage. That vertical sign always gave the place a certain glamorous and authentic look, not only advertising the business but also telling you that it’s been there for quite some time.

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In the past

Danza moved out of its longtime home last year, and now operates less than a block away, on the 2100 block of Sansom. Related, new owners stepped in last year as well, paying $2.1M for the double-wide property. Perhaps because we were always looking at the sign, we never really gave the building at 2009-11 Sansom St. its due, but now that we’re looking at it, we see a building that’s 50% cool and 50% awful. The eastern facade features three curved window openings and a unique angled cornice. The western side of the building has a door and a wall of stucco, with the old window openings covered up long ago. This being the case, we’re not at all sad to report that the building has been demoed, but the eastern facade has seemingly been spared the wrecking ball.

Current view

As for what’s next, the owners could, if they so desire, build a five-story building with retail on the first floor and apartments above. For a change though, we’re not seeing maximum height and density in this part of town- instead we’re seeing a modest three-story rebuild here, according to the permits. A year ago, Philly Mag reported that a restaurant would be opening here, with cooking by Brett Naylor, formerly of the Oyster House. What can we say, Mr. Naylor loves Sansom Street.

Looking west on the block

And honestly, who can blame him? Sansom Street is probably the most interesting mixed-use corridor in Center City, especially on this side of Broad. And the 2000 block has always been one of the most unique and bohemian blocks in town, though it certainly doesn’t have the same cool factor it did back in the 70s and 80s. And while we feel confident it will never be that cool again, a new restaurant should at least kick things up a notch. Of course, that eventual opening will certainly be farther into the future than anyone could have predicted even a few months ago. Patience, folks!