After years of dashed hopes and failed business ventures, the beloved Pearl Art & Craft building on South Street is back for another go-around and has a new look to go with it.
Joynture, a New York-based coworking company, has set up shop on the upper levels of the 33,000-square-foot building, while a Kicks USA store has opened its doors on the ground floor.
The Pearl Art & Craft Supply store was a neighborhood staple, but closed in 2011. It sat vacant for a few years, until in 2014 when Millennium Dance Studio opened its doors in the space. But despite its goal to transform that block of South Street, the studio closed up shop less than a year after its grand opening.
Two years ago, Joynture co-founder Kyle Riggle stumbled upon the building while house-hunting. He called the number on the “For Sale” sign and bought it for $3.4 million.
“More than anything, I loved the neighborhood,” said Riggle. “I like what it has to offer. It has artistic history behind it and from a creative makers standpoint—the history of Pearl Art & Craft being there for so long and such a part of the street—bringing creators and makers there now is a natural progression for that type of building.”
Philly is no stranger to co-working spaces. By Technical.ly Philly’s last count, there are more than 30 shared office spaces in the city, from multiple Benjamin’s Desk locations to the new WeWork offices in Northern Liberties and Center City.
But Joynture will be the first co-working space located on South Street in the Queen Village neighborhood. “I think what sets us apart in Philadelphia is the area where we’re doing it,” said Riggle. “There are a lot of coworking spaces in North Philly and Center City. I think there are a lot of people working from home in this Society Hill-Queen Village-Bella Vista area, and we can help get some of the people out of coffee shops and surrounded by like-minded people who are making and creating.”
Joynture has already signed half of the licenses available for coworkers, who will begin moving in on April 1, according to Riggle.
The opening of Joynture means a new look for the Pearl Arts & Crafts building on 417 South Street. Construction crews spent the past 11 months transforming the building inside out, mostly notably adding a wall of windows on the upper level and swapping dance studios for 2,300-square-feet of office space.
Riggle, who worked with local firm Ambit Architecture on the redesign, said, “I really wanted to get an updated, modern look and feel to the facade. So that’s why we made the changes to the front of the building.”
“One of the things I really loved right off the bat [...] was that back staircase. It’s this super-old, grand staircase that runs the building from the basement to the third floor. I was able to keep this giant staircase that really is the center piece to the community space at Joynture.”
As for that iconic “Pearl & Arts” metal sign? That will be replaced by a similar, but modernized version that reads “Kicks USA.”
“That being said,” said Riggle, “I still have the Pearl Art & Craft sign, if anyone’s interested in it.”
- Wait a minute. Is Pearl Art & Craft empty again? [Curbed Philly]
- New Millennium Dance Complex is Work of Art/Work in Progress [Curbed Philly]
- Millennium Dance Complex To Transform South Street's Pearl [Curbed Philly]