Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fill This Front: Thomas Lofts

726 Market Street

           This right here is a damn travesty. This building has been on the receiving end of a shit-ton of bad luck, but its storefront has suffered even more. FINALLY, a new owner has taken over this building, but the storefront, while available for a whole year, has still sat empty...making it a decade since it was last in use! Let's finally save this building and get this motherfucker filled!
            This building is, of course, the Kirshbaum Building, built in the 1890s under the designs of badass architect Frank Watson. It is not unlike many other buildings that used to be on Market Street before they all got fucked up as a result of the "improvements" brought on by the Gallery at Market East. The storefront pretty much exclusively held women's clothing or hat stores over the building's first 8 decades or so. To list them all in order would make this article reach a sector of outer space that would be out of range of the Argus Array
          This building has had a lot of shitty luck in the more recent decades. When Sam Rappaport owned it, he was able to fill the storefront with two tenants at a time but sealed off the upper floors. The last two tenants to use the ground floor were a McDonald's and the La Paradis Beauty Salon. After Rappaport died, his estate started using the building's big exposed party wall as a giant illegal billboard. They first had a giant ad for Jerry Blavat's radio show which never even got finished before it was declared illegal. The party wall then had a giant Nike ad featuring Dawn Staley that was actually approved by the ZBA. Finally, the wall had a giant Absolute Vodka ad featuring Ben Franklin before SCRUB and a few other organizations went bananas and forced the Estate to have the ad space removed. Ironically, after the sign bill for Market East got passed in 2011, those giant ads might have been able to be legalized. The Rappaport Estate put the building up for sale in 2004.
       People were excited about this, hoping that the building would be restored and no longer be owned by a shitbag speculator. Boy, were they wrong. In December 2006, the building got sold to the infamous Lichtenstein brothers out of Brooklyn.

Yay! It sold! 2007 view via the Google Streetview Time Machine
          The Lichtenstein brothers installed condos in some of the upper floors and ripped off the facade of the storefront. Though they re-exposed the old brick design, the facade was half-destroyed and the windows where kept boarded up for years thereafter.

2009. Love that Google Streetview Time Machine.
               Probably due to the massive amount of flack they got over the burning of the old Buck Hosiery building, the brothers (or the bank that owned the place) finally decided that they should pay their property taxes on the Kirshbaum Building, get their many building violations fixed, and finally restore the street level facade. By the start of 2013, it was finally done. While this was all going on, the Lichtensteins were in a 4-year legal battle over the bank's foreclosure on this property.
              On August 26, 2013, the building sold to a new owner for over $10 million dollars mysteriously named "Market Street A", whose address leads back to an apartment building in Union, NJ. Whoever this new owner is, they are now offering up the storefront space for the first time in a decade... so now's the time to get it filled!

             This space consists of a 4,138 square foot ground floor spot with a 1,333 square foot mezzanine under an 18 foot ceiling! It is accessible by more public transportation than probably any other available storefront its size. It is located two doors down from the 8th and Market PATCO/EL stop which serves thousands and thousands per day. An unbelievable amount of bus lines pass this location on both Market and 8th Streets, including New Jersey Transit lines! The Jefferson Station (formerly named Market East) regional rail stop is nearby. Across the street, the Lits Building holds thousands of office workers AND is about to have a large residential building added to it! Catercorner is the old Strawbridge's Building which also hold a whole shitload of office folk and is about to open a Century 21.
         So here you get a large, high-ceiling store space, excellent access to all public transportation, and endless amounts of foot traffic. Get the right thing in here and you can't fucking lose! The space leases for 10,345/Month for the ground floor and an additional $3,332.50/Month for the mezzanine space. Its managed by Precision Realty Group. Here's the listing, now FILL THIS FRONT!

The mezzanine blueprint.

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