While we try to stick to local fare (come back soon, Jim’s!) when looking for something less-than-healthy, the Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich may be our go-to fast-food choice. While you’re straining your neck from vigorously nodding in approval or violently shaking your head no, some even more spicy news is afoot for 1101 Walnut St., where a throwback one-story Wendy’s stood until recently.

1101-street New
The one-story Wendy's in the past, looking both quaint and wildly out of place

We checked in here last September, when plans were expanded from a previously proposed skinny tower. This new proposal bulked up the footprint substantially, and as a result the two western neighbors of the now-vacant corner would be meeting the wrecking ball. Additionally, the unit count jumped from 111 to 198, many of which will be studios and one-bedroom apartments. Check out how the design from JKRP Architects has morphed over time.

1101-west New
Some additional heft and a slight redesign for the current iteration
1101-aerial Old
The original massing was noticeably tall and slender
From Fall 2021, the Wendy's is gone
1101-west Old
Old rendering, looking west on Walnut
1101-aerial New
An aerial of the new design shows a shorter but wider building
1101-street Old
Original view of the streetscape, with the Art Deco building next door still intact

That expanded footprint is much more real now, as those two adjacent buildings we mentioned earlier are nearly completely demo’ed, save for a few remaining walls toward the back of the lot. Let’s take a quick ride in the way-back machine to see what once stood here and what it looks like today.

1101-street New
Same view, new design - showing off the expanded streetscape
The buildings that were part of the new plans from our previous visit
The same view today, with only part of a column indicating what stood here previously

Despite the loss of these two older buildings, we think this project is a big win for this part of Walnut. The two buildings weren’t in the best shape nor were they the best examples of architecture for their respective eras, though we understand how this chips away some of the charm of the neighborhood. The potential for multiple retail spaces along with the influx of 200+ residents, however, will surely enliven this area east of Broad. We are as always bummed by a height reduction, but this was due to concerns about Jefferson Hospital’s helipad, which sits directly to the east of this development and is a crucial component to trauma care in the city. We imagine we’ll see our favorite pigtailed purveyor of spicy chicken make her way back into the commercial mix around here eventually, but it’s safe to say she won’t be slinging any patties in the new building at 11th & Walnut. But there are several commercial vacancies on the block at the moment, so there are ample possibilities nearby.