With East Market Stirring, Girard Square Sheds Its Skin

 

Now you see me, now you don’t | Photo: Michael Bixler

N. Snellenberg & Co., 1899, SE corner 12th and Market | Photo: The Official Office Building Directory and Architectural Handbook of Philadelphia 1899 , courtesy of Philadelphia Architects and Buildings

N. Snellenberg & Co., 1899, SE corner 12th and Market | Photo: The Official Office Building Directory and Architectural Handbook of Philadelphia 1899 , courtesy of Philadelphia Architects and Buildings

The city’s 135 square miles are shifting like tectonic plates as we rumble into an era of new growth and dynamic reinvestment. For decades, decidedly low end buildings like the repurposed stump of the once grand Snellenburg & Company department store on Girard Square at 1100 Market Street embodied the city’s receding expectations.

Demolition of the site began last December and will near completion in the next few months. National Real Estate Development’s East Market project will transform Market and Chestnut Street between 11th and 12th Streets into an urban playground. The $230 million first phase of Girard Square’s redevelopment includes a 17 story residential and retail tower that will be accompanied by a network of small pedestrian walkways and retail space designed to evoke a neighborhood shopping district–what Inga Saffron of the Inquirer has dubbed the “anti-Gallery.” Along with the Gallery, about to reimagined by its owner PREIT, and the Lits Building, with its rather blazing digital display, East Market is a play to capture the street’s former Ragtime glory. Across the street, Francis Kimball’s brilliant Reading Terminal Headhouse is waiting.

In what is less of a tribute and more of a parting glance at the quickly disintegrating Snellenburg building in its final days, here is a snapshot of time passing away and a look into the kinetic energy of change.

***

To launch the gallery, click any of the photos below.

About the author

Michael Bixler is a writer, photographer, and managing editor of Hidden City Daily. He is a former arts and entertainment reporter with Mountain Xpress weekly in Asheville, North Carolina and a native of South Carolina. Bixler has a keen interest in adaptive reuse, underappreciated architecture, contemporary literature and art, and forward-thinking dialogue about people and place. mmbixler.tumblr.com

Send a message!



6 Comments


  1. I used to fantasize about seeing all of these hideous buildings being demolished but never actually expected to see it happen. Hopefully this project is successful and leads you to write another piece, in a few years, detailing the demolition of the building anchored by Staples.

  2. The contrast between the original building and the last rendition is shocking. Good riddance to that ugly old thing!

  3. One thing I didn’t see among the posted photos is a glimpse of the original Snellenberg’s facade. I was around the demolition site on Market St today. If you stand by the CVS entrance at 11th and look up across the street to the second story, you can see a little bit of the the ornate Snellenberg’s stump where they’ve stripped away a short section of the 60s-era facade that was covering it. Sorry I didn’t have my camera with me. Catch it while you can.

    • Hi Jayfar,

      Very cool. Thanks for the heads up. Hopefully more will be revealed as they continue to remove that cover.

    • I was here 3/3, and the facade was very exposed. I was hopeful they would be preserving it but it doesn’t seem that’s the case. Now I regret not taking some pictures!

  4. Buh-bye!

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

 

Recent Posts
Capturing The Ghosts Of Demolition

Capturing The Ghosts Of Demolition

January 13, 2017  |  Last Light

The demolition composites of photographer Andrew Evans beguile the eye with ghostly images of a city passing through time. Evans presents his newest additions to the series and explains his process with this photo essay > more

Pencoyd Bridge Reopens In Manayunk, As Redevelopment Of Foundry Site Begins

Pencoyd Bridge Reopens In Manayunk, As Redevelopment Of Foundry Site Begins

January 11, 2017  |  Vantage

The deserted industrial site of Pencoyd Iron Works is next on a growing list of riverside redevelopment along the Schuylkill. Contributor Mick Ricereto takes us deep inside the history of the family-owned foundry and farmland that dates back to the city's founding > more

Urban Fantasy: The Carousel Maker Of Broad & Erie

Urban Fantasy: The Carousel Maker Of Broad & Erie

January 10, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

Traditional carousel design may have roots in Europe, but "Philadelphia Style" took the amusement ride to a whole new level. The Shadow takes a stroll down Germantown Avenue where the G.A. Dentzel Carousel Company became the gold standard in animal kingdom merry-go-rounds > more

Lost Buildings Of 2016

Lost Buildings Of 2016

December 30, 2016  |  Vantage

That cheery, time-honored tradition: the year-end list. Here on the Daily, that means a roundup of the year's demolitions in our World Heritage City. Brad Maule finds 2016's list warrants more than just a top ten > more

Unlisted Philadelphia: John Decker & Son

Unlisted Philadelphia: John Decker & Son

December 28, 2016  |  Vantage

Ben Leech spotlights unique and significant buildings not listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places with his architectural illustration series, Unlisted Philadelphia. With this installment, a kingly cornice in Brewerytown > more

Happy Holidays From Hidden City

Happy Holidays From Hidden City

December 23, 2016  |  Last Light

Season's greetings from Hidden City, top HC Daily photos of 2016, and an important message about our fall fundraising campaign > more