For quite some time, we've been banging the drum aggressively on the redevelopment of West Girard Avenue. About two years ago, Bottom Dollar Foods replaced a large vacant lot, bringing a new grocery store to what was for many years a food desert. This was a very big deal. Smaller businesses have been cropping up along the way, with Rybrew and Shifty's Taco adding to the food scene. Mugshots couldn't make a go of things, but their space was filled relatively quickly by a High Point Cafe location. At 27th & Girard, an old church has been converted into sixteen apartments. All signs have been pointing up for this corridor.
But the reinvigoration of a commercial corridor isn't a linear process. Inevitably, there will be some setbacks to go with the victories.
Perhaps the biggest concern at the moment is the status of the supermarket. Earlier this month, Aldi purchased all sixty-six Bottom Dollar locations, leaving the future of every market up in the air. The expectation is that the market will close at the end of the year, and eventually reopen as an Aldi. But it's unclear how long that will take, possibly leaving the corridor without a major anchor for some time.
Further east, High Point Cafe is apparently struggling and may be on the way out, and Shifty's Taco closed its doors a couple of months ago. On Philadelphia Speaks, some neighbors are blaming landlord MM Partners but we're instead inclined to look at the challenge present on a changing corridor and the simple fact that operating a small business anywhere in Philadelphia is a challenge.
But despite the setbacks, West Girard still has so much going for it.
There's a Pizza Brain business coming to 28th & Girard, though it won't be called Pizza Brain according to Michael Klein. A long blighted building next to High Point is finally getting renovated, with some sort of commercial aspect on the first floor. Crime and Punishment Brewing Company is coming soon. And speaking of MM Partners, they're behind a project to redevelop the large vacant lot at 27th & Girard.
So yes, it seems like Girard Avenue is experiencing a lull and that may be true in a sense. But there's plenty of additional stuff coming soon, and fits and starts are to be expected in this process. We're still feeling very optimistic for West Girard, let's just hope against hope that the supermarket will come back online early next year.