Jack Chen of Sakura Mandarin at 11th and Race Streets is behind Spice 28, now under construction at 1228 Chestnut St.
Chen says its menu will balance Szechuan and other Asian fare in an elegant atmosphere. There will be a bar. Pleading "I'm not Stephen Starr," Chen says it won't be too expensive.
It's due to open in early July.
Only steps from the 13th Street corridor that houses a thriving food/restaurant/retail row that includes Grocery, Lolilta, Barbuzzo, Jamonera, Zavino, El Vez and Sampan, Spice 28 stands a chance to at least partly spruce up the 1200 block of Chestnut, one of Center City's sketchiest blocks.
Meanwhile, an attempt to develop the long-vacant Trumbauer-designed bank at the other corner (1200 Chestnut St.) into an upscale billiards hall and club called 1200 Bank seems to be dead. It ran afoul of neighbors in the White Building across the street who believed that a roof deck planned for 1200 Bank would create a nuisance. Homeless people continue to sleep in the empty bank's doorway nightly, which appearently is less objectionable.