The history of 2620 W. Girard Ave. is far from obvious, given that it’s a sizable vacant lot in the middle of Brewerytown’s primary commercial corridor. You’d never realize that it was once a rail depot, later transitioned to a bus terminal, and was eventually home to a supermarket. Since the site has been sitting vacant for almost two decades, most people in the neighborhood probably don’t even remember the supermarket, nor do they remember the proposals that came and went for the property before said supermarket was demoed.
While the market was still standing, there was a plan to tear down the building and build an Eckerd Pharmacy, but that never came to pass. A couple years later, a drive-through McDonald’s was proposed but that also didn’t happen. Perhaps there were some other concepts for the parcel during the next several years, but the next plan we know about came around in 2013 as longtime owners Adco were poised to partner with MM Partners. That plan called for a five-story building on Girard with 68 apartments over 14K sqft of retail, 10 townhomes on 27th Street, and a surface parking lot with space for 56 cars. Here’s a rendering of said plan which (obviously) never moved forward.
Adco still owns the property and they’ve found a new partner in Callahan Ward to finally redevelop this long vacant gap in the neighborhood. and the joint venture will be presenting the plan to Civic Design Review next month, with some significant changes from the concept from a few years back. There’s still a mixed-use building coming to Girard, but it will be smaller, with 56 units and about 9,000 sqft for commercial use. The homes on 27th Street are changing into quadplexes and increasing in number, with (coincidentally) another 56 units coming to that part of the development. And thankfully, the parking lot will shrink with the addition of a dozen more quadplexes on the 26th Street side. Check out these renderings from ISA.
As we’ve said many many times before, we’re none too fond of surface parking lots, and the sizable surface lot in the last iteration was probably its weakest feature, along with the low unit count relative to the size of the property. This new proposal would not only fill a huge empty space on a burgeoning commercial corridor with new retail space, but it would also add the residents of 160 new units to the potential customer bases for the businesses on the corridor. Density is such a key factor for improving our commercial corridors, and given that this project won’t require a zoning variance, it seems like it’s poised to actually happen. Once it does, count on the Girard Avenue corridor taking a huge step forward as a result.