THE COUNTDOWN HAS BEGUN. According to Larry Steinberg of Fameco, the realty company that handles much of Center City’s retail sales and acquisitions, we have about two weeks before we find out who will occupy the former Daffy’s Center City location at 17th and Chestnut. You may remember that there was great wailing, gnashing of teeth and rending of half-price garments when Daffy’s went out of business in that location. This pain led–with amazing alacrity–to speculation on what retailer would come next. Prior rumors: Forever21 and a European company no one ever heard of. Steinberg says it’s now down to two bidders, both apparel companies, and he suspects one of them will make a deal in the next 14 days.
But each company has different plans for the building, which has eight floors, each with 10,000 square feet. “The Daffy’s property was originally built as a department store, and that’s very rare for a high-rise real estate in our retail corridor,” Steinberg says. “You don’t see that hardly ever. Of course there was Wanamaker’s, but in our world of Rittenhouse Square it’s very unique. Each floor is built to be retail selling space. So we have been talking about how this building is best utilized.”
One of the bidders would like to use the entire building, while the other would like to use just the first four floors, including the basement. If the latter should happen, the upper four floors are up for grabs—could be a health club, apartments, whatever the mind can conjure up.
The bidders are currently considering price, of course, but also how they might use the space most effectively. The four-story bidder, for instance, is looking at selling out of the the basement and the first two floors and using the third floor as offices and storage.
JEMB Realty owns the building and the leasehold interests.