Naked Philly

Twould be a shame

A few years ago, James closed after five successful years at 824 S. 8th St. when their lease ended. And we wondered what would replace this popular restaurant, located just a block from the Italian Market. In September of 2012, The Mildred took over the former James space, only to close this summer. A reader recently reached out, concerned that the former restaurant space would be converted into offices. These fears stemmed from a sign on the building from Phillyofficeretail.com.

Former home of The Mildred
Sign on the building

With a name like that for a leasing company, we can certainly understand the confusion. But we're here today to calm everybody down. We popped over to their website and the 3,600 sqft space is indeed available for rent as a turnkey restaurant. The space comes with a full commercial kitchen, but the liquor license costs extra. They're looking for a monthly rent of $6,200.

Joining the fray on the corridor

In Fishtown, the 300 block of East Girard keeps on popping with new projects. Such is the case at 315 E Girard Ave. where last month workers were inside sprucing up a spot that has changed hands repeatedly in recent years. Most recently, it hosted Leticia's Serenity Studio. Before that, it held a thrift shop. And prior to its thrift shop days, it was home to a law office. Thanks Google Maps Time Machine, for the history lesson!

Work was taking place

This stretch of the corridor has been getting a lot of attention as of late. Just across the street at 300 E. Girard Ave., construction on a three-story mixed-use building is progressing and French brasserie Girard should soon open its doors. A few doors down, Stock, the Pho place we first told you about last December, opened earlier this summer. Meanwhile, less than a block away, a former auto parts store on the 200 block of E. Girard was sold last year and has since been tastefully renovated

Actually explains a lot

The bottom of Abbotts Square on the 200 block of South Street has mystified us of late. Most of the little stores on the block's north side have closed or moved in the last year, which has come on the heels of Chef's Market shrinking to a catering operation called Chef's Table. A few years ago, we heard rumors of a restaurant/banquet hall with live music coming to the block, but nothing seems to have come of those plans. But recently a reader tipped us off that a big new tenant is coming soon, explaining why the block looks so desolate at the moment.

Closed stores
Shuttered Citi branch at the corner

According to a flyer from Legend Properties, New York based Garden of Eden is set to take over a giant retail space covering two-thirds of the block. The store, according to their website, "is a culinary Mecca for savvy shoppers who demand the finest products and ingredients at the best prices." So, uh,  that sounds pretty good. We're ballparking here, but it looks like they'll be taking a roughly 20K sqft space for their first location outside of the New York area. It should be fascinating to watch them try to adapt to the Philadelphia market.

Whole area has experienced mini-boom

Several years ago, a fire ravaged 405 Greenwich St., and the remnants of the home remained for a couple of years. By 2012, thankfully, the blighted building was demolished. The lot has sat vacant, catty corner from Grindcore House, ever since.

Looked like this for years
Currently a vacant lot with a zoning notice

As you can see in the photo above (and as is mentioned in the caption), the vacant lot now has a zoning notice posted. Developers purchased the little lot earlier this year, and are now looking to build a three story home here. We would guess that their refusals are dimensional in nature, as the lot is only 48' deep and a sellable home will need to be deeper than the code permits. We don't think it needs zoning approval for a third story without a setback- despite the fact that it sits on a two story block, it only has a two-story home on one side. 

After a building is demolished

Earlier this year, a really nice building on the southwest corner of 2nd & Poplar was demolished. It had been vacant for many years despite the improving fortunes of the 2nd Street corridor.

Building is gone

Passing by the site of the building the other week, we discovered murals where the building once stood. They're pretty awesome, though we're fairly certain they weren't put there by the Mural Arts Program.

South side
West side

How long they'll remain is an open question, especially with rumors that the building next door could be redeveloped sometime soon. And while we wish the building was still standing, we certainly have an appreciation for the artistic placeholders. That buffalo is especially sweet.