If you’re traveling through or near Callowhill, there’s a new building under construction that’s quite eye catching. Sure, any construction in any part of town makes our radar bleep, but this particular project would draw the attention of even the most oblivious phone gazer due to one very specific characteristic- its sheathing. Most wood-framed new construction gets covered in either plywood or green zip system panels, but the project at 1001 Buttonwood St. is sheathed in something much shinier.
The latest in a big North Broad development boom
New York City, North Jersey and Northern Virginia are big hubs for internet, and a lot of that traffic has been passing through Philadelphia. NYIIX installed the infrastructure needed to make the exchange point in Netrality’s location on North Broad Street at the end of April. (Netrality also operates data centers in Houston, Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago.)
There’s still some jockeying for position among the various terms used to describe the neighborhood roughly bounded by 5th Street on the east, Broad Street on the west, Vine Street on the south and Mount Vernon Street on the north.
Callowhill is what the planners call it.
Real estate agents, or at least many of them, like the Loft District.
Other agents prefer Spring Arts, and the more creative types have dubbed it the Eraserhood.
By the time one real estate developer is done fixing it up, however, we may be calling it the “Arts & Crafts District.”
We were passing by the other day and saw what looked like a demolition notice posted to the building, but we didn’t stop to take a closer look, figuring we’d take a peek at public record. We confess, we don’t know what the sign is for, but we do now see that the plans for the property extend well beyond storage uses. Back in March, the owners of the property applied for a zoning permit to convert the building into a restaurant. And this squares with a Philly.com story from several months ago, announcing that Michael Pasquarello, owner of nearby Cafe Lift and Prohibition Taproom, would be opening a restaurant inspired by cuisine from the Mexican city Mexicali, home to a sizable Chinese population. It may have taken a little while, but now it appears that restaurant is finally moving forward.
The building at 631 N. Broad St. dates back to 1867, and as you might expect from a building that’s been around since the Andrew Johnson administration, it’s had a number of uses over the years. It was originally constructed as the Edwin Hart Stables, a function that’s called out on an inscription that has remained on the building’s facade after all this time. As the years passed, several car companies, a sewing machine company, a hosiery company, a couple of drug companies, and an art gallery occupied the building, though not all at once, obviously. Back in 2015, we told you that developers had purchased the building and were planning a residential conversion, with an addition that would allow for a total of 41 apartments. We were pleased that the project called for the preservation of the existing facade and had high hopes for the plan to add more apartments to the improving North Broad Street corridor.
As we’ve said who knows how many times before, surface parking lots are the worst. To their credit, the owners of this property are of the same mind, and they’re eliminating the surface lot, in a manner of speaking. That’s the construction that we noticed the other day, a structure that’s currently framed up to four stories. The building is technically an addition to the existing twelve-unit building, and it will include six more apartments. The parking is sticking around on the ground floor, and we’re not sure that whether this will be interior parking or the parking area will remain open to the elements.
The Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House, which has stood vacant on North Broad Street for decades, is reopening this December as a Live Nation venue. Today we finally have an idea of what it will look like inside.
Guests: Kevin Dow, Inga Saffron, David Brownlee