Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Parking Garage of the Week-- April 11th

Central Parking 11th and Race Street (aka Kinney Systems Chinatown Garage)

1030 Race Street

                      Is it a building or is it a parking garage? Well, in this case, its both! Here we have the decaying skeleton of an old building that has been converted into a parking garage. This Brittle Behemoth of Dickbones sure knows how to ugly-up a street corner. As big as it is, it only holds 225 cars.
                      Back in the early 20th Century, Harrison Cicero Rea was the shit. His construction company was well-known far and wide. He was so successful that he would be asked to be on the boards of banks and consult city agencies. In 1915 he joined forces with the Manufacturers Realty Company to built a speculative factory building at 11th and Race.
                     The Ballinger and Perrot firm, responsible for many industrial buildings in the city, was called in for a design. They gave Rea & friends a pretty standard design for the time, a six story super-reinforced megabox. United Electric Construction Company installed the electrical equipment. Construction was complete by 1917.

                    After that, barely anyone wanted to move in. Entire floors stayed empty for years after the building was complete. Finally, a variety of companies started filling the building... everything from clothing to greeting cards would be produced there for the next few decades. In 1945, the building was the subject of a often-cited court case (Goldstein Co. v. Greenberg Inc.) that established that in any joint business venture, all the people involved need to tell each other the truth regarding said venture (I'm not a lawyer but that's what I got out of it).

In the upper right of this picture from 1955.
                        After that, records are spotty. Its not clear exactly when the building was converted to a parking garage or when the ground floor retail was added, but based on the condition of the storefronts, it was a long fucking time ago. The facade of the upper floors appears to be so dirty, that one could guess that its never been cleaned. A few replacement bricks appear here and there, but other than that, I think we're looking at 95 years worth of shmutz covering this thing.
                       This last December, a company based in the building next door on 11th Street purchased the building for $1 (nothing underhanded about that lol), ensuring more decades of dirty-ass factory building skeleton gracing this corner. This right here is a garage in need of a makeover. If the facade was cleaned and windows added, it would look like a perfectly normal loft building. Get to it, you bastards!!!

Dirty-ass facade.


  1. I work just down the block from that building. It sure is filthy.

    A few years ago, I walked past the corner there to see the whole area cordoned off. A hunk of masonry several feet wide was missing from the north face of the second story. I asked around the gathered crowds, and the story was that someone backed his car up through the wall, raining bricks down on the good people of Philadelphia.

    It was repaired quite quickly, and this explains the one not-as-filthy part of that part of the building.

  2. As ugly as this bldg is, it does not even come close to the leaking puss oozing out of my arm thanks to some poison ivy i recently acquired.