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|
|As it appeared in 2009 via the Google Streetview Time Machine|
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.|