Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A New 12th and Chestnut

Remember the Unknot Tower proposal? The funky, twisted hotel designed by Winka Dubbeldam and proposed by CREI near the corner of 12th and Chestnut a few years ago? Well guess what...no, that isn't happening. But what is happening at the corner of 12th and Chestnut is that a handful of private people with money are taking the desolate strip's revitalization into their own hands.

Winka Dubbeldam's Unknot Tower, a stale proposal near 12th and Chestnut.

While the modest units in the White Building continue to fetch over $800,000, you'd think the exotic lines of the Unknot Tower would have been a sealed deal. Not so much. The proposed location continues to sit abandoned, it's metal gate cut open with a blow torch, the former department store's main entrance chained shut, barely hanging from its twisted hinges.

But on this same post apocalyptic stretch of dollar stores and discount electronic and beauty suppliers, the residents of the White Building may soon be seeing a return on their hefty investment.

The S.S. White Dental Manufacturing Company designed by Samuel Sloan in 1858 is now home to condos and a hip cupcakery.

In addition to the hip cupcake boutique, Philly Cupcakes, 1200 Bank, a posh billiard hall, will soon find its home at the former Beneficial Bank Building on the corner of 12th and Chestnut. The present bank is actually the last of three incarnations of the Beneficial Saving Fund Society, designed by Horace Trumbauer in 1916.

Philly Cupcakes in the White Building at 12th and Chestnut.

Across the street, a building known for its nonprofit clinics once responsible for Chestnut's "stroller brigade," the Commonwealth Title & Trust Company is currently under renovation. Designed by James Windrim & Son in 1901, it is still home to 7-11 and the re-branded Mitchell & Ness.

James Windrim & Son's Commonwealth Title & Trust Company in a 1901 rendering.

It remains unclear if it will be apartments or offices, but one things for sure, the recent movement at 12th and Chestnut promises a vast environmental improvement over the early morning line of angry, chain smoking, fowl mouth women waiting outside 1205 Chestnut, or the late night camp of hostile homeless occupying the front steps of the vacant bank.

No comments:

Post a Comment