Recently, Philly YIMBY visited the imposing eight-story prewar building located 5627-33 Germantown Avenue, where a residential renovation is currently being planned. The structure stands on the eastern corner of the intersection of Germantown and Chelten avenues, in the core of Germantown’s primary commercial district, half a block east of Vernon Park. The development will reinvigorate the 90,515-square-foot, 100-plus-year-old structure with renovated ground-level retail and 47 residential units above. Permits list Scott Woodruff as the architect, City Suburban Home Builders, LLC as the contractor, and a construction cost of $7.75 million.
5627-33 Germantown Avenue has quite an illustrious history. The building, originally used as offices for the Germantown Trust Company, which has occupied the site since 1898, was constructed in a series of expansions around the first half of the twentieth century, with the most significant one taking place in 1929, in the heyday of a nationwide high-rise construction frenzy, when the eight-story tower was assembled at the site.
The Germantown Trust Company vacated the building in 1947. Two years later, the exterior was altered when the C.A. Rowell Department Store moved in. In 1975, the structure became home to the nation’s first African-American-owned department store when Curtis Sisco Sr. acquired the company.
5627-33 Germantown Avenue looms large both on the Germantown skyline and in the neighborhood’s history. Although renovation permits have already been issued, we observed no construction activity at the site (the Walgreens pharmacy that was a ground-flooor tenant has been shuttered for some time now). We look forward to progress on this significant development in the near future.