Mixed Use Planned For Street Art Central at 5th & Cecil B.

You might not realize it, but pallets are a big business. Wanna ship something large and heavy? It’s probably going on a pallet. Wanna ship a bunch of smaller things? Again, it’s pallet time. But where do all those pallets come from? In some cases, the pallets come from Pallets Plus, a company that’s been operating at 5th & Cecil B. for several decades. If you’ve ever been in this neck of the woods, you’ve surely noticed their offices, notable for the piles of pallets and the incredibly prominent street art on the exterior walls.

Northern side of the street
More graffiti on the south side of the street

The company operated under odd circumstances for many years, from both sides of the street. Somewhere along the line though, the Pallets Plus people decided that they didn’t need two large properties to run their business. So they sold their northern property, a triangular parcel that covers roughly 29K sqft, and continue to operate from the southern parcel. The northern property, 1700 Germantown Ave., sold to developers for $1.35M, and redevelopment has already begun.

View, looking north on 5th Street

We don’t have a whole lot of clarity on the project based on the permits, but fortunately Philly Views did a writeup about the property a couple months ago which sheds some light on the subject. According to the story, Stull Investment Company purchased the property and is already working on building out a space for their offices on the site. The first phase of construction will include a five-story building with 30-40 apartments and retail on the first floor. The next phase calls for a seven-story building, also mixed-use.

On 5th Street, looking south

The story indicates that the pallet company created an arrangement several years ago with street artists that allowed the artists to paint the walls as they desired, as long as they cleaned up after themselves. While that will surely be maintained on the southern property, it remains to be seen what will happen on the north side of the street. The developers have indicated a desire to integrate graffiti into this project and others, but it seems they’re not sure how that will work just yet. This probably won’t be easy or straightforward, but would definitely make for one of the more unique new projects in town. Hopefully, they’ll find a way to pull it off.