Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Parking Garage of the Week-- August 1st

Patriot Parking's Chancellor Parking

1616 Chancellor Street

                     Hey, Little Pete's is the shit. Don't let the stupid hipster food snobs at Yelp fool you... this is a truly classic greasy spoon-style diner where you go to punish your arteries for future crimes. A relic diner from an ancient past when there was a place like this on every block (and I mean EVERY). Some people actually expect to walk into Little Pete's and get a fair trade free range vegan kelp wrap floating in perfume served in a man's hat. Those people are called morons.
                The only problem with Little Pete's is that it resides in one of the city's worst parking garages. A Castle of Crunchy Concrete that's been uglifying the neighborhood for the last six decades. Though most of it is hidden behind taller buildings, its small countenance on 17th Street is a goddamn disgrace... except for Little Pete's.
              This part of 17th Street was once home to some stately-ass mansion-sized rowhouses. Though many people came and went through those houses since they were built in the 1830's, the most notable was a famous Jewish doctor, Solomon Solis-Cohen, who lived at the corner of 17th and Chancellor. This guy was a ground-breaking physician whose books and papers are still studied by medical students. He was also a Philadelphia School District teacher, professional Hebrew translator, and a professor at Jefferson and one other medical college. Basically, this motherfucker did it all.

His epitaph reads, "Fuck y'all"
                      At some point within Solis-Cohen's lifetime, his house along with a few others on the block were demolished to make way for the J. M. Shock Absorber Company in the early 1910's. That company was one of the first to sell shock absorbers for cars, something we all take for granted today. Their location on 17th would produce, distribute, and even install shock absorbers. A company from Chicago sued them for stealing their patented shock absorber design, but they lost. The corner of 17th and Chancellor would continue to be a garage long after J.M.'s departure.
                  Finally, in the 1950's, the horrible parking garage was built. The 1950's saw the construction of many of the city's worst and longest-lived parking garages-- this would be no exception. The garage itself has very little history. Its 57,000 square foot ass has been parking cars for so long that everyone seems to be accustomed to its damaging presence. The lot it sits on is zoned C-4, therefore a 500 foot skyscraper could replace this thing if anyone cared.

You can see it on the center-right in this picture from 1959.
                      Too small a lot for a skyscraper, eh? No one would ever propose one here, eh? Well in 2006 or so, a tall and thin-ass condominium tower was proposed for this location. The architect was Daroff Design and looks like something one would expect of such a swanky address. Its actually pretty cool and has a pointy top, something missing from buildings constructed around here in the last few years.

You can't see the spire from this angle, but trust me, its there. 

Little Pete's would be eliminated.
                    Needless to say, the project never happened. I don't even know if it was a serious proposal or just a fantasy building.
                   All that is not even the worst part about this piece of shit. The parking garage's current owners, some folks under the name Philadelphia Chancellor Limited Partnership (and with a mailing address at the Radisson Hotel in Trevose, PA) bought the place from the Equity Office Property Trust in December of 2004 for $11,433,240. Whomever this group of people/businesses is (probably something having to do with the Carlson Hotels company who own the Radisson Plaza Warwick Hotel across the street), they owe $559,337.82 in property taxes. They were on the "biggest tax cheats" list back when they owed 200 grand less. Maybe my ninja down at can get on the case.
                  In short, this garage sucks radioactive monkey nuts through a kryptonite straw. Hopefully someone will come along and put this motherfucker out of its misery-- just demolish the whole thing except Little Pete's.


  1. Hipsters can't hang at Little Pete's because they can't handle the realness that lives inside an old-school Philly diner.

  2. i have to say i sort of like this gritty little parking garage (and boy do i really fucking hate parking garages). its kind of a survivor, only about 3 stories, so it doesn't loom over the street menacingly, its got businesses fronting on the street. it sort of has a "less is more" quality to it. it has an identical twin at 1500 sansom too.