Naked Philly

Baby steps for this underused stretch

The Friends of Bainbridge Green are looking to reclaim the strip of land that runs down the middle of Bainbridge Street between 3rd Street and 5th Street, as we've told you a few times before. We've previously explained that this strip of land exists as a remnant of Bainbridge Market, an outdoor collection of stalls shut down by the City around the time of World War I due to unsanitary conditions. The area was landscaped after the market closed down, and parking spaces were cut into the median, probably in the 1960s or 1970s.

Bainbridge Green would create a large public green space in the median, reducing the traffic lanes down to one in each direction on Bainbridge Street. New sidewalk bumpouts would increase pedestrian safety. In addition, the park would close the weird gap where Passyunk Avenue crossed Bainbridge Street as well as the rarely traveled space in front of the PNC Bank at the southeast corner of 5th & Bainbridge. Here's a site plan, to show what we're talking about.

Site plan

Speaking of that PNC Bank, we stopped there the other day to grab some change, and noticed the 5th Street Plaza Pop-Up at the western end of what will eventually become Bainbridge Green. It wasn't long ago that this patch of concrete looked pretty crappy.

Who saw this coming?

We've been keeping tabs on the building at 4100 Chestnut St. over the years, first bringing it to your attention back in 2011. At that time, we noted that student housing player Campus Apartments had purchased the building, with longtime occupant Graphic Arts Inc. moving their operations to Port Richmond. The property is huge, with about 35K sqft of interior space and about the same amount sitting vacant, historically used for parking. With tremendous bones and a wonderful location to its credit, we wondered what would eventually fill this property.

View on 42nd Street

We checked in again on the property during the summer of 2013, noting that some of it was looking worse for the wear but other parts of the exterior had clearly undergone renovation. We noted that the owners of the property had a plan to build high rises on the vacant section of the parcel, but as you can see in the photo above that has not happened. As for the inside of the building, we're pretty sure not much has happened either. But a couple readers have reached out lately, letting us know that work has indeed been happening inside. And the expected tenant was quite a surprise.

And the project across the street got approved

Last summer, developers came to the community with plans to redevelop the large parcel at 1405 Frankford Ave., the longtime home of Penn Treaty Metals. By right, the developers could have built a mixed-use project with 30 units and no parking, but they instead proposed 32 units and 16 parking spaces. Still, the community only came out in support of the project by a narrow margin. We mentioned last month that we'd heard rumblings that this project would soon get underway, and wouldn't you know it, those rumblings were accurate.

View of the property

Old building has been demoed

In case you don't remember the plans for this property, here's a rendering to jog your memory.

Or you could own a specialty meat store instead

The Italian Market is one of our favorite spots in town, a rare combination of tourist destination and amazing resource for people that live nearby. Whether you're seeking fresh meats, fresh pasta, mostly fresh produce, aged cheeses, or the best tortillas in the city, the Italian Market has you covered. What are you waiting for, go to the Italian Market right now! Well, don't go if it's after 6pm, there's not much happening over there at night. 

Looking down 9th Street

At the end of last year, the Italian Market lost one of its longest tenured businesses, as D'Angelo's Specialty Meats closed its doors after operating at 907-909 S. 9th St. for over a century. It's always a shame to see a family business close its doors, but according to Michael Klein, owner and operator Sonny D'Angelo was just ready to throw in the (surely bloody) towel after working there since he was 17 years old. As he's now 67, we'd say he's put in his time and then some. We'll certainly miss the business though. As the name suggests, D'Angelo's offered meats ranging from typical (beef) to the atypical (elk) to the unexpected (iguana?!?). And they were famous for their sausages, too. Alas, nevermore.

Not that there's anything wrong with that

We were making our way down N. 2nd Street in Northern Liberties the other day, and noticed a big new building on the 900 block. We've actually written about this property, 966 N. 2nd St., in the past, back in the fall of 2015. At that time, we told you that a long vacant building had just been torn down and that developers had approval to build a new building in its place. We were all kinds of pleased that this building had gotten demoed, it had been blighting the block for as long as we could recall and it also resembled Swamp Thing.

In the past

Pretty much the same thing

Today, it's a wildly different world at this location. Developer Shimi Zaken, who has done multiple projects in Northern Liberties, is behind this one as well. The building will have 13 residential units, a veterinary clinic on the first floor, and 8 underground parking spaces. It had to go to NLNA and zoning, but not for the reason you might expect.