A cleared lot at 8610 is adjacent to the parking lot behind the east side of the 8600 block of Germantown Avenue. It will soon be the location of a three-story, 8-apartment building. (Photo by Pete Mazzaccaro)

by Pete Mazzaccaro

A small commercial building at 8610 Evergreen Place was demolished several weeks ago to make way for a three-story, eight-unit apartment building with a small, 1,000-square foot retail unit on the first floor. The building was previously owned by the late, well-known Philadelphia jazz musician, Grover Washington Jr, where it was the home address to his music publishing business, J W Jr Music Inc.

Its current owner, Laurel Holdings, purchased the property for $503,500 in September 2016. Jon Mayer, owner of Laurel Holdings told the Local that the property was purchased from Washington.

Larry McEwen, an architect and co-chair of the Chestnut Hill Community Land Use Planning and Zoning Committee, said there was some concern about the design of the building planned for the site, but that the project was by right, meaning that all the zoning requirements had been met by Laurel Holdings and thus, without a need for a zoning variance, there was no obligation for Laurel Holdings to take the project before the committee.

Mayer confirmed to the Local that he had all the permits he needed, and he expected construction on the new building to begin in “a couple weeks” with construction lasting for about a year. According to plans filed with the city, the completed building will be a three-story rectangle and contain just under 10,000 square feet of housing and retail or office space.

The building once owned by Grover Washington Jr razed last month. (Photo courtesy of the Chestnut Hill Conservancy)

According to Lori Salganicoff, director of the Chestnut Hill Conservancy, while the property was on a list of those “contributing” to the Chestnut Hill National Register of Historic District, it was not protected by a listing on Philadelphia’s Register of Historic Places.

Salganicoff said the conservancy’s records indicate the property was built between 1885 and 1889 as a barn for a Germantown Avenue house demolished long ago. It had been altered in 1962 for commercial purposes.

Pete Mazzaccaro can be contacted at 215-248-8802 or pete@chestnuthilllocl.com


  • Christine Washington

    Re: Evergreen Court Building…. My late husband, Grover Washington, Jr. and I purchased the property at 8610 Evergreen Pl. in 1982 to house the business of G.W. Jr. Music, Inc. our publishing company and for all other business related to my husband’s profession as musician, producer, arranger, composer and recording artist. It became inevitable that after my husband’s passing in 1999 at the young age of 56 that at some point in the future, in spite of my feelings and the musical history contained within its walls, I would have to sell the property.

    That time came in 2015. It remained on the market for about 1 1/2 years and was purchased in late 2016. Although I’m not deluded enough to think otherwise, I knew the new owners would have other plans for the property. However, I never thought it through enough that I would live to see the entire building demolished. To say that I and my family are heartbroken is an understatement.

    Just seeing how cold and impersonal the sale and demolition appears in a Local news piece makes me sad. I want everyone to know it wasn’t a choice I wanted to make, but at my age, needed to make. So many memories of our professional careers and personal lives are/were connected to that building. Those walls could tell so many stories. It’s interesting that when we first purchased the building, many of our neighbors and some CH residents were very wary to have, not only a musician, but an African American man who happened to be married to a white woman become their neighbors. I would like to think that in almost 35 years we became thought of not only as good neighbors, but played an appreciated and integral role in the community.

    I will miss that building and all the memories I, my husband, my children, employees and the many musicians and other music professionals and friends have shared there. Time marches on….

    • Howie

      I was touched by your comments. When I heard that the building was demolished, I was also disheartened. Without hearing your voice, I thought of the all those walls have seen. I’m always upset when these vultures we call real estate developers raze buildings… and put up.. in this instance – apartments. Ugh.0

      I’m sad for CH as this sorta thing is becoming more and more common. Who can stop it?

    • Robert Fox

      This is a sad story. It is amazing how the buildings and spaces where we spend our lives become extended members of our families. Over the years we create memories and remember the spaces where we were – when we were younger, when our kids were younger, in summer, fall, winter, and spring. Losing those places can feel like losing a family member. Take solace that the memories are not gone, and at the end of the day stuff, especially man made stuff, is just stuff. You can’t take it with you. I’m glad to hear that you feel valued by the community, as indeed you and your late husband are.