Parking Garage Near Broad and Locust Being Prepped for Demolition

A plumbing permit (of all things) tipped us off to the possible demolition. Pearl Properties purchased the garage and two adjacent buildings in March.

Corner of Broad and Locust | Photo: James Jennings

Corner of Broad and Locust | Photo: James Jennings

It looks as though the rundown parking garage at 219 South Broad Street is being prepped for demolition. A quick stroll past the property shows that the entrance/exit gates on Broad Street have been fenced off and the doors to the building are locked tight.

Then there’s also this interesting plumbing  permit (of all things) issued on July 30, which pretty much spells out its demise:


You may recall that Pearl Properties purchased the entire northeast corner of Broad and Locust in March for a combined $20 million, leading to speculation that something big was in the works.

Brian Lipkin, an executive vice president with ParkAmerica, the former parking operator at the site, said that the garage has been closed since the beginning of August, and that it’s his understanding that the new owners don’t want to demolish the structure until after the pope’s visit in September.

DSC_0193Interestingly enough, Lipkin said that they only really utilized the first floor of the building for parking. The upper floors were “mothballed” a few years ago due to the elevators not being able to handle cars, but were in use to service the cell phone antennas on the roof. As far as the demolition goes, Lipkin believed it would be a slow process, “a brick-by-brick sort of thing.”

The garage at 219 South Broad Street is officially owned by BL 219 Partners LP. The two adjacent commercial properties, 227-29 South Broad Street and 231 South Broad Street, are owned by BL Partners Group LP. The address of both ownership groups is Pearl’s office on Walnut Street.

It’s unclear what Pearl eventually has planned for the site. Joe Varalli, whose long-run with his eponymous restaurant Varalli at 231 South Broad ended on July 3, was quoted in a June article by Michael Klein in the Inquirer as saying he wasn’t sure what was on the way, but that “We should rename [the street] the Avenue of the Apartments.” So take that for what it’s worth.

Perch Pub still operates above Varalli, as their lease doesn’t run out until the spring 2016. Messages were left for both Pearl Properties and Joe Varalli, but we have not heard back.