Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fill This Front: Bridals by Danielle

203 South 13th Street

               Ok, so its only been 1 year since this place has had an occupant-- but on 13th Street, other shit can't stay vacant for more than a months before someone else comes along (anyone know what's going on at the now papered-up Mamou?). The spot is not just on the 13th Street corridor across next to and across from some nice shit, its got 50 feet of street frontage, big ass windows on the front AND side, and is in a nice-looking building! What the fuck is wrong with this place? Why can't we Fill This Front!?! Well, from what I can tell, it might already be spoken-for.
       First of all, what a nice-looking building. Its an old office building that was built on spec in about 1915-1916. It later became a Stenography School and then, during World War II, a dormitory for servicemen working at the Navy Yard and stuff. The ground floor wasn't a storefront until about 1958, when a jewelry store moved in and stuck around for a couple of decades.
      In 1980, the place was vacant and looking like shit, just like the rest of 13th Street back then. The Redevelopment Authority took control of the place and had it renovated under the designs of architect William E. Cox, who would later become part owner of the place. The retail space became a laundromat and stayed that way after the building's current owner, the Daedalus Group Limited Partnership, took ownership in 1984.
       In 1989, the laundromat peaced-out and Speedy Sign-a-Rama moved in. They left 4 years later and the space then became the Both Ways leather shop, which evolved into a bagel/coffee shop called Franny's Place, which was a well-regarded Gayborhood hang-out spot run by Fran Price, who currently is the executive director of Philly Pride.
Photo of the interior of Franny's Place by Julia Lehman for a 1997 citypaper article
           In the 21st Century, the whole Tony Goldman renaissance of 13th Street was taking place and Bridals by Danielle moved in from around the corner, replacing a pharmacy that had briefly occupied the front after Franny's. In March 2014, they moved to 304 Walnut and the space has been empty ever since.

As it appeared in 2009 via the Google Streetview Time Machine
                 I get pissed off when such a nice-looking storefront in an awesome building has trouble getting filled... let me talk about it a little bit. This place is ~1,850 square feet with roughly 30-50 feet of storefront window out front and a whole bunch of other windows along the Chancellor Street side (ok, so they face a bunch of dumpsters). Its right in the midst of kick-ass Midtown Village 13th Streetness, right where lots of positive changes are finally coming to fruition. You have Green Eggs, Host, a new building under construction at the old Dewey's site, a hair salon that's been on the block for like 20 years, Woody's, and and even the kick-ass awesome Franky Bradley's further down the Chancellor Street. On its own block, it has Indeblue right next door, Bellevue Nails, 13th street Pizza, and the new Cappelli Brother Cigar Company which was packed as shit when I walked by it last Thursday night. THAT'S WITHIN ON FUCKING HALF BLOCK, I don't even have to mention the rest of the stuff that's even one block further. The area gets motherfucking assloads of foot traffic, has tons of residents and daytime workers nearby, and is accessible by multiple modes of public transport, including the Broad Street Line, Market Frankford Line, AND the goddamn PATCO!!!
          Sounds great, right!?!? Well, guess what? The listing for the space (which still calls this area B3 like its 2005), says "Off Market" and was last updated on July 4th, 2014. So is it even fucking available? The guy who's name it is on the RENT sign could not be reached for comment. If not, who picked it up? There aren't any permits in for alterations or anything like that, so is someone just paying the rent and sitting on it?
          Well, whoever you are, get your shit together and open something up here. Its about time we FILL THIS FRONT!!

Pretty decent-looking building too.

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