Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fill This Front: Tangerine

232-34 Market Street

             Continuously in use for 7 decades then... SIX YEARS EMPTY!?!?!? What the hell is going on here? I know this space was not really available for most of those six years... but now its been available for nearly 2 and its still sitting there doing nothing. Now's the time. Let's Fill This Front!
             As with most Old City storefronts, going all the way back to the beginning of this storefront's life would take forever... the building predates 1860 for fuck's sake! I'm going to start in the 1930s, when this location started being a Horn & Hardart Automat and stayed that way all the way until 1971. In 1972, the Tarshich Family's hardware store, Stanley Hardware Company, moved here from the 1800 block of Market. The store was called Stanley not because of the Stanley line of tools, but because its original location was near the Stanley Theater. That store location stayed open for 21 years until being bought out by another hardware store in 1993. That new hardware store lasted until 1997.
          In 1998, there was a movement to rebuild this area of Market Street, spearheaded by an architecture firm located in the same building as this storefront (MGA). The old hardware store space was restored back to a restaurant and went up for lease the next year. In 2000, Steven Starr's Tangerine opened at the space and was not only well-reviewed, but highly successful. Here's a slideshow of the interior when it was open. It managed to last all the way until August 2009. For the next four years, it was used as a catering/kitchen/occasional event space and finally came available in March 2013.

2007 view from the Google Streetview Time Machine.
          Nearly 2 years later, the motherfucker is still sitting there empty. But why? This location gets an insane amount of foot traffic by tourists during the day (especially in spring/summer) and by assloads of drunken wastoids at night. Its accessible to transit via an EL stop located on the same block and is a block-and-a-half away from a major bus hub. Even if you want to come by car, the place is right near I-95 and there are plenty of parking garages nearby. Did I mention that this neighborhood also explodes with foot traffic on the first Friday night of EVERY month!?!?
        This is a 9,000 square foot (read: HUGE) space that can hold 200 people. There's a private event space and a gigantic fucking kitchen that still has 80% of its shit still there. The Market Street exposure of the place is 75 feet wide and goes hundreds of feet back on Bank Street. The leasing is being managed by M.S. Fox Real Estate Group. Here's the listing, which also indicates that the space could be used as a "first floor loft style technology space" as well. It goes for $23/sq ft NNN, so $207,000/yr plus the Triple Net.
         Go ahead and grab this bitch-bastard before the Spring influx of tourist traffic. Get over there and FILL THIS FRONT!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Empty Lot of the Week: Diaphane Building Parking Lot

1936 Arch Street

           Ok, so I don't really do Empty Lot of the Week anymore but there are some still left that I've never talked about that irk the shit out of me. This one right here sucks monkey nuts. It's been empty for 71 years and has even once been considered for development. Nonetheless, its still remains, looking like asstrash.
           The last building to occupy this space was a 4-story mega-mansion built about 1898 under the designs of local architect Joseph Cather Newsom shortly before he fucked off to California and became famous there. The mansion went through a lot in its short life, from a stately single-family home to decent apartment building called The Braddock to a seedy-ass flop house called Hotel Bechtel.

Here it is as the Hotel Bechtel in 1928 via
            In 1944, the decrepit old building was seen as a shitty vestige of the past and unceremoniously demolished while under the ownership of the Girard Trust Company. Ever since, this space has been parking cars or doing other car-related shit. After being a Budget Rent-A-Car for a couple of decades, contractor Sidney Elkman proposed a 14-story building for this lot. It had a hard time getting through zoning but was eventually approved. Of course, it was 1967. Had it been built, this would be a Butt-Fugly Building rant instead. Here's the rendering. See what I mean? Blecch. At the time, there was a small revitalization of this hood with small commercial buildings. Every last one of them was ugly as crap. Only a few got built and at least one has already been demolished.   
              After that Elkman project failed, the lot went back to being vacant, then was used as a parking lot and later as a car rental agency again. In 1982 and 83, the Diaphane Building next door to this lot was restored and the space became that building's parking lot... a role that it has held ever since.

The Diaphane Building looking like shit in 1981. The lot is on the right.
              In 2000, a mural called Reach High and You Will Go Far was installed on the party wall of the Diaphane Building and has probably locked this place in as a parking lot for all time. I say this because if ever someone comes along and makes it their business to put a building on this empty-ass piece of shit lot at a prime corner location, NIMBYs are going to start dropping from the skies screaming about how that dated-looking mural will be lost forever.
         Anyway, with 1924 Arch and CITC being built less than a block away, and Liberty Property Trust nabbing all the shitty lots and buildings on the 1900 block of Arch, this lot has a lot more potential than its had since ol' Sidney Elkman was interested in it. Hopefully the owners of the Diaphane Building understand this and will sell if off to someone who will make better use of it. Pfft.