Not to toot our own horn (Warning: toot toot!), but there are not many sizable properties in Greater Center City that we haven’t visited over the years. But lo! As we were making our way about town, we found ourselves at the large, fenced-off property at 730 W. Girard Ave., which used to be home to a gas station and the Wolfson Rentals service. It turns out we had never visited this property, even though we visited its neighbor at 718 W. Girard back in 2016.

From August 2021, looking south from 8th & Girard
A closer look at the Wolfson's building along 8th St.

It turns out that both 718 W. Girard Ave. and 730 W. Girard Ave. were owned by the same group, the operators of the aforementioned Wolfson Rentals. Both properties were listed for sale a couple years back, and they collectively sold back in August of 2021. Let’s check out an aerial from Summer 2022, where the site looks a bit different than the prior year.

Looking south shows off the huge size of the mystery property, bounded by 8th St. to the west and Franklin St. to the east

Onto the intrigue! An entity called 730 W GIRARD CRCP LLC purchased all of these properties for $14 million two summers back. That is a tidy sum for the properties, which combine to measure about 80K sqft. While the size of a combined parcel is certainly significant and might justify such a price, the CMX-2 zoning, which limits height and density at this prominent location, would suggest that a variance would be needed to possibly justify the owners paid. When we checked out the site, it was unclear what the future might look like here.

A pile of gravel and the remnants of the gas station remain
Some steel and trucks, but no clear clues

We’d venture to guess that the owners didn’t spend $14 million to have a convenient spot to keep their gravel. This huge site along a burgeoning residential stretch is screaming out for a higher and better use than its current status, whatever that might be. Will we see a zoning notice pop up in the future, combining these lots in preparation for a residential development similar to what we see to the west? Will the site sit fenced and mysterious for years, evading our gaze as it has in the past? Could this just be a land banking move, with hopes that remapping might someday unlock additional value? Could the owner look to flip the property to someone else at some point? Who knows. Perhaps one of our intrepid readers has the scoop or has heard rumors about what’s coming? All we know for sure is that if it wasn’t for that darn down-zoning of Girard Ave., we’d be all the more optimistic about something exciting coming here sooner than later.