Rittenhouse Square is jam-packed with amazing architecture, with the stately Boyd’s building at 1818 Chestnut St. serving as an amazing example of the area’s offerings. This grand clothing store has been operating here for nearly a century, serving as a vestige of the shopping habits of years past, hearkening back to a time when Amazon was strictly known as a river in South America.

The grandest of facades for Boyd's in Rittenhouse

While we admittedly haven’t spent much time shopping at this institution which opened a Main Line presence two years back, we have always admired its gorgeous exterior design. If you look down the block, you will find yourself at another handsome building with the word BOYD’S gracing its facade at 1812-14 Chestnut St., this time sitting at two stories.

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Looking east down Chestnut St.
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The two-story building at 1812-14 Chestnut St.

The news here is unfortunate: this parcel, not affiliated with Boyd’s but owned by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, received a zoning permit for complete demolition on Friday. While a fine-looking structure in its own right, this building is not individually listed on the local register of historic places, clearing the way for it to be torn down. We have few details beyond this, as no other permits have been issued, meaning we may see this turn into a surface lot with an uncertain future. Ugh.

There is some encouraging news next door at 1810 Chestnut St., however. Formerly the home to Freeman’s Auction House, we visited this site about five years ago when there were huge plans for a 20-story overbuild featuring 26 condo units. Astoban brought on CBP Architects to design a modern addition to what is a historically protected building in this instance. While there haven’t been many signs of action, zoning and construction permits have been issued, meaning we could see work start in earnest here soon.

A look at 1810 Chestnut St. just next door
A glassy overbuild would change this part of the block dramatically

Somewhere, we can hear the opening vocals of “The Circle of Life” come on, reminding us that sometimes the passing of one building means the rising of another. Or something like that. We are honestly bummed to see such a handsome building demolished, but we are encouraged that we could see something rise into the skyline next door. Or maybe we see this newly cleared space purchased by the developers next door, expanding the project to an even grander scale. If a building like this is to be torn down in such a heavily-trafficked location, we hope that whatever rises in its place is a worthy replacement.

UPDATE (4/18/2024): The property at 1812-14 Chestnut St. is not affiliated with the Boyd’s store, which is staying as is; the article has been clarified accordingly.