47-Unit Adaptive Reuse Project Planned in Germantown

The C.A. Rowell Building at 5627 Germantown Avenue
The C.A. Rowell Building at 5627 Germantown Avenue

Get ready for some big changes to the historic building at 5627 Germantown Avenue. The 8-story, 77,436 square foot, CMX-3 zoned building was originally constructed as a 2-story building for the Germantown Trust Company in 1898. In 1929, a major vertical addition was added for use as the bank’s offices. Germantown Trust Company ended up moving out of the building in 1947 and by 1949, the C.A. Rowell Department Store made it their home after making alterations to the facade. In 1975, Curtis Sisco Sr. purchased the company, making it the first black owned department store in America.

Curtis Sisco Sr CA Rowell Department Store
Curtis Sisco Sr. in front of the building
The C.A. Rowell Building at 5627 Germantown Avenue
The C.A. Rowell Building at 5627 Germantown Avenue

Most recently, the ground floor of the building was a Walgreens. However, if you’ve been to the intersection of Germantown Avenue and Chelten Avenue in Germantown recently, you’ve probably noticed that the Walgreens has closed. The more than 10,000 square foot commercial space is now available for lease and the owners are preparing to convert the upper floors into residential units.

Back in March, zoning permits were issued to create 47 residential units within the structure. The plans also call for a roof deck above the 4th floor. Most of the windows on the 2nd and 3rd floors were added in 2011, but major exterior changes cannot be made without the Historical Commission’s approval due to the building’s designation. No construction permits have been issued to date.

We’re extremely excited to see this building reactivated. The additional residents in the heart of Germantown’s commercial district should help fuel local businesses in the area and potentially even attract new companies to the area. We’re hoping the restoration includes large windows on the first floor, which will give any future commercial operator a great street presence.

How do you feel about this project? What kind of business would you like to see open in the former Walgreens space?

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