The building pictured above–variously known as the National Corn Exchange, the Girard Corn Exchange Bank, Trust, the Real World House, the Corn Exchange Building, and more–was constructed in 1907, and has seen a lot in its almost 100 years. Most of that history was probably along the lines of men arguing about corn and its exchange, but the real drama–the “if-these-walls-could-talk” secrets–surely took place when MTV used the building as home base for The Real World Philadelphia, which like all Real World shows, was filled with conventionally attractive cast members drinking and getting frisky in a bar, drinking and getting frisky in a group bedroom, and drinking and getting frisky in a hot tub. (Actually, we just made up that show description, but we’re pretty sure it’s true.)
After the show ended, the building was purchased for a couple million bucks by Yaron Properties and rented out as an art gallery-cum-events venue. People using the space, dubbed Trust, for an event on a one-time basis were discouraged from making any connection to the TV show at all. Here’s an excerpt from a one-time contract:
No Use of Trade Names. The Licensee shall not use the Licensor’s name or any of the following trade names “The Real World”, “The Real World 15”, and/or “The Real World Philadelphia” or “the house used in connection with The Real World”, “MTV The Real World 15”, and/or “MTV The Real World Philadelphia” or any similar trade name or any likeness of the Building or the Center in any notices, advertisements, invitations, press releases, signs, billboards, websites or other printed, audio or visual materials.
The building is on the National Historic Register, but an Old City resident of longstanding told us today, “As someone who lives right there, I can tell you that an unblievable amount of fucking dumb Americans have their picture taken ‘outisde the Real World house’ on the regular, which makes me STABBY.” We understand.
Perhaps a new use for the building will banish bad memories. A few days ago, DAS Architects’ David Schultz went before the Historic Commission to present plans that would convert what is now a two-story space into a three-story space for a gourmet food store. From PlanPhilly:
The effort includes installing a small roof deck on the northern half of the building, set some 70 feet back from the facade; altering the sidewalk from concrete to bluestone; adding a chiller to the roof; and adding a new elevator and ramp to meet accessibility requirements.
The Commission approved the changes, paving the way for the building to return to its original purpose, when, in the early 20th century, it was an integral part of a thriving wholesale food marketplace. Pun intended, of course.