On our way to snag some photos and grab lunch from a food truck on Temple’s campus yesterday, we happened upon some renovation activity taking place on North Broad Street. A Santucci’s location opened at 655 N. Broad St. a couple years back, taking over for another (surely inferior) pizza spot. We believe the building was originally built for some industrial purpose, but it’s been used for food service for many years. At one point, and perhaps most famously, it was once home to Linton’s, a 24-hour diner. Fast forwarding to the recent past, the building had clearly seen better days, with ice cube glass filling in the large window openings.
But things are looking up for this building, in a manner of speaking. The owners of the property are building an addition onto the building, and the plans call for 18 residential units on the upper floors. As part of this project, the old window openings are regaining their original size, with windows that echo the building’s industrial past. Unfortunately, the addition and the existing facade of the building will be clad in a red material that will make the building look a bit like a Jiffy Lube. It’s either one step forward, two steps back, or two steps forward and one step back. We honestly can’t decide.
Meanwhile, just up the street, the renovation of the Studebaker building at 667 N. Broad St. looks like it’s finished, at least on the outside. Remember, this building had been used as the Ridge Avenue men’s shelter for a long time, though as the name suggests it was originally used by the company that made Fozzie Bear’s favorite vehicle. While we’re certainly more enamored with this renovation than with the addition at Santucci’s, we still feel like it’s a little lacking when considered alongside the artist’s rendering we saw previously.
We know that a co-working space is forthcoming for this building (if it hasn’t already opened), but we’re still unclear about the restaurant concept that will take over the first floor. The rendering calls for a New Orleans style concept, which we certainly wouldn’t protest. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a quality beignet? Perhaps once a restaurant opens on the first floor and adds to awnings to the facade, it’ll warm up the look of the building and it’ll begin to resemble the rendering a little more than it does now.