Chestnut Hill Development Opportunity on Germantown Avenue

SSH Real Estate has announced its listing of 8034-8040 Germantown Avenue, a few doors down from Chestnut Hill Pharmacy. It currently houses Prime Pacific  Oriental Rug and Furniture Liquidators, as well as the buildings that were once home to the now closed Diane Bryman Rugs, which went out of business in 2012 after 52 years. (Another Oriental rug business on Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill is hanging in by focusing on repairs.)

According to SSH, 8034-8040 is “one of the largest contiguous spaces along Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill,” which makes it a sizable opportunity–11,000 square feet–for the right investor.

Asking price: $1.75 million.

Property’s Morning Obsession: Faveladelphia

The pair of Dutch painters known as Haas & Hahn are famous for transforming Brazilian favelas with bold, colorful paint on building exteriors. Last year they began doing the same in Philadelphia on the 2600 block of Germantown Avenue in partnership with the Mural Arts Program, working with neighborhood kids and residents to transform a neighborhood that the two painters characterized as equally troubled as the slums of Rio.

The project was featured in the New York Times’ Style Magazine, which described the area as “a crime-ridden section of North Philadelphia” with “dilapidated storefronts, boarded-up windows, drooping cornices and even a few stray Art Deco details.”Amazingly, the artists also told the Times that Philly is so screwed up, it’s harder to get things done here than it is in Rio’s favelas due to “layers of bureacracy,” among other problems.

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On Our Gaydar: Wistaria Vintage

Jose Sanchez is the owner of Wistaria Vintage (photo by Courtney Apple)

Back from a month-long trip to Italy, where he scoured street markets in Rome for baubles, scarves and anything that might fit into his suit-case, José Sanchez is ready for summer. His shop, Wistaria Vintage, a lesser-known treasure trove of pre-owned clothing, accessories and small furnishings on the edge of Mt. Airy, has been open for more than a year. But for Sanchez, it’s a work in progress.

“I’ve been interested in vintage clothing since I was a teenager,” says the 30-year-old. “I wanted to have my own business and work for myself. The building had been mostly vacant for years, and it was calling my name.”

The shop—which features handpicked fashions from the ’40s through the ’90s as well as jewelry, sunglasses, casual menswear and a few consigned items—shares the property with a carriage house Sanchez calls home on a block brimming with Philadelphia history. (Cliveden, the site of the Battle of Germantown, and the Johnson House, once a stop on the Underground Railroad, are just a few doors away, and nearby is the Wyck House, whose association with the famous Wistar family inspired the name of the shop.)

When Sanchez moved in, he outfitted the space with reclaimed items from the neighborhood and his family, including his great-grandmother’s antique mirror. A shoe rack is made from old metal fencing, and hats are hung on antique candlesticks. (“Most people don’t notice,” he says. “But the only thing new is my computer.”) He even carries a few housewares and small furnishings from time to time—pretty much anything that might be considered “vintage.”

“It depends really on the age of customer and what they think vintage is,” admits Sanchez. “But a large part of my business is young kids. To make anyone feel really old, the ’90s is starting to be vintage.”

This profile appears in the summer issue of G Philly magazine. Pick up a copy at your favorite LGBT-friendly destination in the region or subscribe online. You can also visit Wistaria Vintage: 6375 Germantown Avenue, Mt. Airy, 215-789-9953, wistariavintage.com.