Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fill This Front: Society Hill Furniture

1031 Chestnut Street

Outdated pic of the front from last August. Its a little better-looking now.
       C'mon folks-- how does a storefront that was filled for 45 straight years manage to stay empty for 6? This is in an awesome building in a neighborhood that is on the rise. Get it now before its too dang late! This is, of course, the 6,000-foot space in the old Watkins/Wurlitzer Building on the 1000 block of Chestnut. This storefront has seen a lot over the years, but in the last six, it hasn't seen shit. Not only that, its directly next door to a storefront that hasn't been in use for even longer!
       While it started out in 1894 as an auto showroom, the space has been known over many decades as the sales room of whatever operations were going on in the upper floors: the Wurlitzer Piano Company, American District Telegraph Company, and the Hess & Son construction company. However, Society Hill Furniture was so popular during its 1963-2008 tenure that the building itself came to be known as the Society Hill Furniture Building. That's pretty much it.

In its final days as Society Hill Furniture in 2007 via the Google Streetview Time Machine
            In 2012, a new owner proposed a residential conversion of the building and, after long last, the work seems to be almost complete. The storefront went back up for lease in 2013, though in 2012 it ended up becoming a giant ad-- kind of like a much more commercial version of the old Artfront Partnership from the 90s, when empty Center City storefronts were made into art installations. Whatever happened to those folks?

The storefront as an Amstel ad in 2012 via the Google Streetview Time Machine

                  This is the storefront at 1031 Chestnut. Its 6,000 square feet with 40 full feet of street frontage on a highly foot-trafficked, car-trafficked, bus-trafficked, and everything-trafficked street. Its one block away from an EL stop and very close to the Jefferson Regional Rail Station. This area definitely shows promise: Brickstone Realty is re-doing 3 buildings in the immediate area while also building a massive new mixed-use development on the very next block. The new East Market development is currently underway just around the corner. The building next door, long filled with shit stores, now has a Taco Bell and the first Philly location of LA's Robek's smoothie chain.
                That means that it is nearly inevitable that this storefront will soon be falling into excellence. That means if you sign that lease for this space, you can take advantage of the wave of kick-ass coming through here. The space rents for $120,000/year. Here's the listing. Be Chestnut East's latest hero and FILL THIS FRONT!