For decades, Fairmount has been one of the more stable neighborhoods outside of downtown Philadelphia. But this town has always been a city of neighborhoods, often changing block by block. So it’s a little odd in the abstract that neighboring Brewerytown languished for many years as Fairmount hummed along, but that was not terribly uncommon in other parts of town (looking at you Rittenhouse and Graduate Hospital). And as has been the case in several other areas as development has boomed citywide, we’ve seen a sea change in Brewerytown.
We’ve told you on more occasions than we care to count about development projects in Brewerytown, as it has recovered from many years of considerable disinvestment. And we’ve similarly drawn your attention to numerous projects along the evolving West Girard commercial corridor. Some of those projects have entailed demolition and new construction, but we particularly appreciate the renovations that have maintained and/or improved older buildings on Girard. We see a fine example of this on the southeast corner of 28th & Girard.
In the past, this double-wide building was home to a laundromat on the first floor and some apartments above. And while it wouldn’t exactly knock your socks off like the unique building across the street, it still had some fine bones that seem like they’d nicely accommodate a renovation. Back in 2017, developers had a plan to tear down the building and construct a five-story mixed-use building in its place, but those plans never came to fruition. Instead, there’s now a plan moving along to renovate the building, including the addition of a 4th story. There will be three apartments on the 2nd floor and two bi-level apartments on the 3rd and 4th floors. The window openings on the ground floor are being opened up to improve the street presence of whatever retail tenant opens up here- perhaps someone in the neighborhood has heard about whether anyone has signed a lease? Here’s a rendering of what the building will look like when it’s all done, snagged from the website of Argo Property Group.
Not too shabby! Certainly, this building’s appearance will be much improved after the renovation, and the improvements look like they will enhance the existing structure rather than overwhelm it. Across the street though, is a building that’s also been renovated recently and we wouldn’t have minded if the developers had done something a little more overwhelming.
We covered 2800 W. Girard Ave. a few years ago, shortly after the beauty supply store that occupied the building for a long time closed its doors. At that time, we told you that a spinning place would be taking over a portion of the building and we didn’t know what was coming in the corner space. Since then, the building has improved dramatically, with the removal of the paneling on its facade and the opening of some large windows on 28th Street. And as you can see in the image above, Green Eggs recently opened in the corner space, providing the neighborhood with a solid new brunch option.
As opposed to our feelings across the street, we would have rather seen this building torn down and replaced with something new, as a one-story building here feels like an underuse. In order for a commercial corridor to thrive, it needs as much density as possible, and a couple floors of apartments would have been a nice touch at this corner. Make no mistake, we’re quite pleased about the improvements made to this building and we’re as excited about Green Eggs as we are unenthused about spinning. Who knows, maybe the building could accommodate an addition some day and we can have our brunch and eat it too.