Monday, April 6, 2015

Update!! More Fronts Filled!

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

          Hello, this is Robert Stack, and you are now reading this in my voice. Fill This Front has been an attempt by GroJLart, somewhat in vain, to identify chronically empty Center City storefronts and maybe bring enough attention to them to get them filled. Back in January, we updated with a bunch of amazing storefront rebirths-- and now there's more! Could Fill This Front be having some effect? That will have to remain an Unsolved Mystery. Play the Youtube video below for the appropriate background music.


        The old Stereo City spot now has a tenant! Johnny Manana's of East Falls is expanding out into the city with two new locations, one of which will be located at the circa 1924 Llewellyn's Drug Store. Good luck, its nice to see that part of Chestnut rise!


        The old Society Hill Furniture space has finally been filled! Though the new occupant might just be a Gallery leftover, they've managed to get a spot that hasn't been in use since 2008. Now all they have to do is remove the old Society Hill Furniture sign. Whatever-- Chestnut Beast can always use another friend.

From the day they opened.

          After six long years, the old General Accident space will become the Center City location of City Fitness. This is will be their 4th location, adding to their Northern Liberties, Grad Hospital, and South Philly jawns.


           After 13 years of disappointments, the old Warner Bros Studio Store space at the Shops at Liberty Place will finally get a permanent lessee! Its been recently reported that the huge spot will hold a Bloomingdale's Outlet! This is great news and another sign that Center City's retail potential is getting even more popular. Rumor has it that Bloomie's is looking for another larger space for a regular large format version somewhere in the city as well.


            The NYC blightlords that own the remains of the Hamilton and Diesinger Building have now finally put it up for sale. They are asking for a rather outlandish $2.15 Million for the single-story building with 2 small sealed-off upper floors, but I guess they are banking on the greatness of Chestnut Beast and the fact that the building faces both Chestnut and Sansom for someone to come along and buy it for that price. Don't be surprised if it ends up being a tear-down.

Shhhh! One of Philaphilia's clandestine rumor sources has informed me that not only has an offer been put in for the building, but that said offer is well above the asking price!!! More info incoming!!


             You've probably heard about this but we'll tell you anyway: Wawa will be opening a new and gigantic location at the Robinson's Luggage space at Broad and Walnut! Though some people new about it already, GroJLart was informed by a participant of my March 21st Forgotten Broad Street Tour that this was taking place. GroJLart tweeted about it later that day:

           That Monday, Michael Klein wrote about it and the whole goddamn city went wild! Countless news outlets carried the news while every area discussion board and comment section became the center of heated debate. Some were ecstatic that a new Wawa would be available so close to their homes and workplaces, seeing positivity in the fact that Wawa was making a triumphant return to Center City after declaring itself nearly fully suburban a few years ago (btw, the 11th and Arch Wawa is still closing) and that they were taking up a prominent storefront that's been empty.
           Others saw the news as wholly negative, and for a whole bunch of different reasons. Some said it was another nail in the Avenue of the Arts retail coffin, seeing as how Walgreen's came in two blocks away, FYE is closing, and so is Ruth's Chris Steak House. Other people were worried about the amazing ability Wawa has of attracting bums to its locations, perhaps thinking that a larger 24 hour location will attract more and/or larger bums. A whole other subset of detractors saw this as a negative because of Wawa's status as a chain and not an independent sustainable organic spelt flour puppy underwear boutique.
          Oh well-- Wawa is coming and there's nothing anyone can do about it. Might as well enjoy it while its there.

Other tidbits worth mentioning:

-The Walnut Nails space doesn't seem to be acting as storage for another store anymore. I know there was at least one 311 request about it. The building and the one next door are still up for sale as a package deal.

-The Champions space is actually up for lease now. Assuming you have $225,000/yr to burn, snap this shit up. Remember, the DNC is coming.

-Something new is coming to 1725 Chestnut and 1835 Arch, but I don't know what.

-Five Below is moving to somewhere near 15th and Chestnut.

-Lastly, construction seems to be in full swing at the Southside Cleaners & Shirt Laundry building.

           With all of this great news, let's not forget the Fronts that are still empty and haven't done shit since they were mentioned here. John C. Clark Legal Stationers is still sitting there doing nothing. The owner probably doesn't give shit about the place, its just one of his many beat-up properties in the area. Across the street, the Witherspoon Building space is still vacant as fuck. 833 Chestnut changed up the signage but is still up for lease and will soon be going on 5 years empty. The Sprucy Storefronts are looking even worse, but this permit hopefully explains why.
          Kaufmann's Event Hall is still sitting there looking like shit while its blightlord owner still works down the street. 13th and Spruce is still shamefully vacant as fuck despite its makeover. The Ashe Building is still sealed up. Mexican Post is still unable to fill up, now on its 13th empty month. The Thomas Lofts space on Market East is still vacant as fuck. The South Broad KFC is getting even worse looking while serving primarily as a surface parking lot. 31 South 2nd is an ongoingly-blighted piece of shit. The VOG spot is still a fog spot. 2108 Walnut is looking worse than ever and the retail still isn't available. Enough of this!
          For every empty lot, effed-up building, new development, or empty storefront, there's someone, somewhere, who knows the truth. Perhaps that someone is reading this. Perhaps... it's you. If you have any new or extra information relating to articles posted at Philaphilia, write to us at You need not give your name.

"Now get the fuck out of here"
Programming note: Philaphilia will be on hiatus for a couple of weeks while GroJLart celebrates the fourth anniversary of the blog and some other stuff he can't tell you schlubs about. He'll probably write some crap on his Twitter once in awhile so keep track of that for the latest updates. Check Hidden City Philadelphia for more tour dates and watch out for a new blog post here about the upcoming all new North Broad Street Tour!!


  1. At 1208 Chestnut, most likely Brickstone. They're buying everything they can get their hands on in that corridor. To get good retail you need co-tenancy. If they can guarantee spots to upscale tenants across from other upscale tenants then we should start to see a snowball effect along the corridor.

  2. The Shade Store will open in 1725 Chestnut Street.

  3. Is anyone else totally in love with that Hank Collins Restaurant sign next door? It doesn't get more 40's than that.