Brandywine Realty Trust plans to demolish an aged industrial building on the 2100 block of Market Street so it can combine the property with surrounding parcels into a large surface parking lot for valet use.
The developer has secured permits to tear down the structure at 2126-30 Market St. and is seeking to be excused from zoning rules that prohibit new parking businesses in the area, according to filings on Philadelphia's Department of Licenses and Inspections website.
Brandywine has previously discussed building an office-and-residential tower on the property, a large portion of which is already used for paid parking. It purchased the land last year for $18.8 million from real estate investor Richard Basciano.
Peter Hendee Brown, a real estate scholar at the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Urban Research, said the developer presumably isn't ready to develop the property just yet and sees parking as an interim use to cover costs associated with owning the land.
Brandywine may not think market conditions are right for a major project at the site or could just not have the resources available to expend there at the moment, Brown said.
The company has said it hopes to begin work this year on its massive Schuylkill Yards development with Drexel University in University City. It's also in the midst of several other big projects in and around Philadelphia, and in Washington and Austin, Texas.
Brandywine chief executive Jerry Sweeney did not respond to an email seeking details about the company's plans for the Market Street site. The Center City Residents Association's zoning committee is to review the parking proposal on Tuesday.
The building to be demolished served as a Coca-Cola bottling plant in the 1920s. The land to be combined for parking also includes the site of a deadly building collapse in 2013 that flattened a thrift store. The former thrift store location itself is being developed into a memorial park just west of the Brandywine-owned land.