About a year and a half ago, we first told you about plans from Pearl Properties to construct a new building on a surface parking lot on the 1600 block of Sansom Street. The north side of this block was basically ruined by Sam Rappaport, and then demolished in the early 2000s by Wayne Spilove, who was at the time the head of the Historical Commission. Their combined efforts turned photo number one into photo number two.

In 1959, from Phillyhistory.com

This week

Eighteen months back

But now, The Sansom, an eight story building with 104 apartments has replaced the embarrassing lot. The building, which has wonderful (but fairly standard) tenant amenities like a 24 hour doorman, a residents’ lounge and a fitness center, has injected new life onto a block that’s been held back for over a decade. On the first floor, Adolf Biecker Spa and Salon opened its doors a short while ago, but the western retail spaces remain vacant and incomplete.

New building. Salon in the foreground.

Looking eastward, the not-yet-occupied retail space

Last week, Michael Klein dropped the bomb that made hummus lovers all over town gasp with delight. Steve Cook and Michael Solomonov, of Zahav fame, are opening two restaurants in the building’s remaining retail space. One will be a fifty-seat spot serving Jewish food of the diaspora. The other, dubbed Dizengoff, will be an Israeli-style hummusiya, serving primarily hummus and pita. There will also be beer. These restaurants will join Federal Donuts on this block, which is another Cook n’ Solo interest.

Sure, we look at the photo of this block from 1959 and look over at the 1500 block of Sansom and wonder what could have been. And while the lost architecture of this block is certainly to be mourned, the same cannot be said for the surface parking lot that existed here for so many years.