Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Parking Garage of the Week-- August 29th

Central Parking System-- 10th and Walnut

923 Walnut Street, 123 South 10th Street

This crappy Google Earth 3D view is the only way to show this thing in its entirety.
                  Now this is a pitiful pile of shit. A gigantic 50,000+ square foot parking castle that tries to hide behind other buildings but still manages to muck up two different blocks. Around 50 years old, its time to take this motherfucker down.
                 First of all, I hate it when parking garage owners/management companies can't even keep the fucking lights that say "Park Here" lit. This one has gotten worse and worse over the years... only the final "e" in "Here" is lit along with half the little arrow. What a disgrace. Second, this, along with the buildings next to it, are standing in the way of future Jefferson University/Hospital expansion.
                 The site of this garage did have one historical asset. The Racquet Club of Philadelphia's original headquarters once stood in a large row-mansion at this spot. They moved there in 1889 and stuck around until 1906, when the spoiled-ass George Dunton Widener decided that the neighborhood sucked and commissioned Horace Trumbauer to design their current HQ at 16th Street. He went down with the Titanic six years later, so fuck'm.
                The old Racquet Club building was demolished in the early 1930's, becoming a surface parking lot. The building next to it came down later that decade. The two long lots stayed surface parking all the way until 1960, when the land was purchased by the parking garage's current owner for $1. Once the surface lot at 123 and 125 South 10th Street were acquired shortly after that, construction of this parking monster began.

1935. The surface lot on the right is the site of the old Racquet Club. the building in the middle came down shortly after this pic was taken.
1960 view showing the 10th Street side of the surface lot that would become the parking garage. Carver W. Reed still runs out of that same building.
                       50 years later, the garage is still doing the same shit it did when it was built. In 2006, Jefferson created a long-term Master Plan that included the destruction of this parking garage and the buildings next to it in order to create a green space called "Jefferson Square". Other parts of the plan came to fruition (Lubert Plaza), but this part was for farther in the future, and if other local university's master plans from 2006 are any indication, this shit will probably never happen.

2025 view of the site of the garage from that master plan.
                   At this point, this stuff seems highly unrealistic. In the plan, they say that the next step toward this is "site acquisition". Jeff has managed to purchase 3-4 buildings on the 10th Street side of this site, but that's about it. If they still plan to do this, they better get some fucking dough ready. The Carver Reed store has been there since 1956 so I don't think they're going to be so happy about moving (though they've moved plenty since opening in 1860), and the Robert Morris Building is one of only four facilities in the country that prints braille books and magazines.
                  Also, Jefferson Square is supposed to come AFTER the Ambulatory Care Center that they're supposed to build on that gigantic surface parking lot they've been sitting on forever. Oh well... its looks like we're gonna have to get used to this garage because it isn't going anywhere for awhile. Fix the damn lights.       

1 comment:

  1. Jefferson owns most of the buildings on that block these days.

    They own the former Marathon Grill, and the empty store front next to the florist. The florist is holding out for sale because she knows she's got them by the balls.

    137 S 10th is a Jefferson office (I used to work in it).