News broke late Thursday that Councilman Kenyatta Johnson introduced a bill that would allow a the 1600 block between Chancellor and St. James St. to be rezoned, making way for a 12-story boutique hotel. Great news, right? Not exactly, especially for fans of tuna melts at 3 a.m. and old school Philadelphia scenes, as it all but spells the end for Little Pete's diner, the legendary late night spot located at 219 S. 17th St. Jared Brey of PlanPhilly reports that the $125M, 300 room Hudson Hotel will be designed by local architecture firm DAS Architects. It's good news for the city, in the sense that a rundown parking garage will soon be a luxury hotel. However, to those who simply love Little Pete's, it's a straight-up terrible day:
Attention Philadelphia. If Little Pete's goes I shall not return.— John Hodgman (@hodgman) October 31, 2014
.@Michael_Nutter WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT LITTLE PETE'S— Dan McQuade (@dhm) October 30, 2014
According to Joe DiStefano of The Inquirer, Morgan Group owns the property and will be developed by Clemens Construction Co. The hotel itself will feature a restaurant on the top floor and will offer "exciting food and beverage options with panoramic views". Of the 300 rooms, 40 will be swanky executive suites. Although unlikely, die hard fans of Little Pete's are holding out its possible rebirth:
If the luxury hotel that's replacing Little Pete's doesn't have a fancy diner inside called Luxurious Pete's I'm going to fucking freak.— John Paul Titlow (@johnpaul) October 31, 2014
As for the timing (and timeline), construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2015. Michael Klein at The Insider talked with John Koutroubas, owner of Little Pete's, who said that he had been waiting for the day the diner would meet its demise. The hotel is expected to be completed by 2016 and Koutroubas mentioned that Little Pete's, which was a Dewey's Famous in a past life, closing would be about a year away.
The rest of the project looks to include two-stories of " luxury retail shops, at least one restaurant and bar, as well as special events and meeting facilities", according to a press release from DAS Architects, who most recently designed the Granary Apartments near the Art Museum. Parking will be underground.
With the Hudson Hotel bringing 300 more rooms into Center City, it looks like we're experiencing a hotel boom in Center City as well. The brown paper bag that is the Home2Suites opened near the Convention Center in 2013 and the vacant lot at 15th and Chestnut St. will soon see the W and Element Hotels rise from the ground, bringing 755 combined rooms with it. Most recently, Baywood Hotels got the go-ahead to redevelop the former Warner Bros. building in Chinatown into a 12-story hotel. That will be an AC Hotel by Marriot. The question is, does Philly have the demand? Le'ts hope so.
Want a place to commiserate with fellow lovers of Little Pete's? You're going to want to keep an eye on the #SAVELITTLEPETES movement. It's like an epic guest book you'd find at the wake of a dear old friend.