For anyone who has had a late night/early morning in the Rittenhouse neighborhood and had a hankering for a quick snack when other options were closed, you may be familiar with 2301-11 Walnut St., which is home to a 24-hour Rite Aid. This set-up always struck us as odd, with a large surface parking lot taking up the front of the lot and a parking garage underneath and behind the Rite Aid, extending to Sansom Street. When we did a little more digging about the history of the site, it began to make a bit more sense. This used to be home to a three-story building that no longer stands, as well as a Texaco station. Let’s set the way-back machine to the 1950s and see how the site compares to today.

My Project
2301-11 Walnut St. in the past
2301Walnut-looking NW Today
Same view today
My Project (1)
View from the past looking north up 23rd
2301Walnut-looking North Today
Same view today, thankfully with some architectural holdovers
My Project (2)
Looking towards West Philly from Chestnut, with Texaco on the right
2301Walnut-looking West Today
The same view today, with the Rite Aid parking lot now to the right

The other day, we heard rumors on a Reddit thread that the Rite Aid here would soon be closing, with July 28th (today!) as the last date the store would be open. When we went to check it out for ourselves, we confirmed that things were indeed closing soon for this neighborhood stalwart. While we understand that this serves a community function, a bunker-like building with surface parking is far from the highest and best use in such a prominent location. And as you can see below, we aren’t exactly losing a design marvel in the process.

The sign confirms the rumors: Rite Aid will soon be gone
View of the parking lot and the building as it looks today
A closer view of the least it has a cornice kind of?
The back of the building from Sansom St. shows the entrance to parking garage

While there don’t appear to be any signs of a transaction or any new zoning notices, according to the folks who work at said pharmacy, a new residential tower may soon rise on site. This is hearsay at this point, but it makes all the sense in the world to us. The combination of a key location and an under-utilized lot give us hope that something substantial could go up on this 20K sqft property with CMX-4 zoning. This permissive zoning is surely enticing to developers and the huge amount of residential mass in the area makes apartments or condos a likely success. We should note that an office use or perhaps a life sciences building might also make sense here.

Will we see movement here in the near future? Will the near neighbors in rowhomes/apartments revolt? Will additional remediation need to take place due to the old gas station? We’re not sure, but when we get confirmation on whatever is next for this site, we’ll be sure to share. And you’ve gotta think, given the location and size of the parcel, the next step for this property will be rather significant, in terms of scale.