Thursday, October 20, 2011

Empty Lot of the Week-- October 20th

Rittenhouse Sorrow Lot

1907-1915 Walnut Street

                                 This is one of the most famous Empty Lots in the city. This is the damning lot of doom that has plagued the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood for 16 years. This piece of shit has seen it's share of Dead-Ass Proposals but is now just sitting there with no plans.
                                This stretch of Walnut was once fine row of mansions reserved for Philly's most elite motherfuckers. The fine old house just to the left of the lot belonged to William Wanamaker. The rest of the fine homes that once stood on this lot got either replaced or mangled up beyond recognition by the mid 20th Century. There was one lone motherfucker that managed to survive relatively intact. This was the Francis L. Potts Mansion, designed by Joseph Huston, a student of Furness.

Francis L. Potts Mansion in 1986. You can see the William Wanamaker Mansion way over to the left.
                     On December 14th, 1994, a massive fire consumed the old house and manage to damage the shit out of the ugly-ass buildings that were on either side.

The butt-fugly Eric's Rittenhouse Square Theatres, built 1968, modified 1985, ugly as fuck!
                     The insidious PPA took interest in the condemned fire-damaged properties and demolished them in 1995 with the intention of parking cars... thus began the life of this grassy stink-hole. On September 12th, 2007, the Dublin-based Castleway Properties bought the lot for THIRTY-SEVEN MILLION FUCKING DOLLARS with the intention of building a 525-foot L-shaped residential skyscraper on it. Funny, the tax records say they only bought it for $1.
I could fux with it.
                          Only eight months later, they gave the fuck up. They did one of those "information only" presentations, but after that, nothing.  Speculation arose over whether there would be a different project here instead by the same developer or if something completely different would be coming. I seem to remember another proposal for this spot that looked like a ziggurat with green roofs all over it... maybe I dreamed it.
                          This lot's only claim to fame at this point is that the owner is a fucking dirty shitbag tax cheat. This property is one of the many many many tax delinquent properties that have gained attention in the last few months. This lot's tax bill is $145,253.88 a year. Pay the fuck up!


  1. This lot is a mess. We certainly aren't helped though by how high construction costs are in the city.


  2. Construction cost have nothing to do with developing this lot. If the developer cannot even pay the tax bill for the lot, it tells you the developer does not have the resources to construct anything no matter what the cost. Shame. The developer needs to give up and sell it. This lot is GOLD for development. The last open parcel on the square. Shame. Oh and whats with all the EMPTY residential units behind it on Sansom? There are two quite large older buildings that are abandoned less than a block from the square!

  3. Another sweet rendering that never came to be. It is a shame. It could use the 1706 Rittenhouse treatment.

  4. I walk past this lot every day on the way to work. I nearly wrote in just this past week as a suggestion for "empty lot of the week" and here you read my mind! I had seen a rendering of the Castleway Properties' proposal and didn't think it looked all that great, but it was a heck of a lot better than the empty lot!