We told you at the end of last year that Fishtown is losing Lou Wolff Auto, a used car dealership that's been doing business on Girard Avenue since the 1980s. That property is being sold and redeveloped, which definitely makes sense given the changes we've seen on the East Girard commercial corridor over the last few years. Still, it's probably a bummer for a) people who hate change, and b) people who liked the idea of buying a car from a dealership in Fishtown. But it seems the car dealership hole in the neighborhood will be quickly filled, at least according to a recent story from Philly.com.
Thanks to its industrial past, Fishtown has a plethora of old factories and warehouses that currently show various degrees of wear and tear. Since the neighborhood has experienced a development surge over the last several years, we've seen some of those old buildings demolished and replaced with new homes, others that have been converted to new uses, and others still that have maintained an industrial use and haven't really gotten any work done in years. One building that falls into the third category, 1102 E. Columbia Ave., might soon be in line some changes that would move it into the second category.
Meandering through the River Wards the other day, we spied a vacant building at 2530 E. Hagert St. that we had never noticed before, even though it's been in poor condition for several years. Something about the property gave us the feeling that developers already had this property in the crosshairs, and we were on the money in that regard. The property traded about a year ago, selling for $95K, and we have to think it won't be long until the owners tear down the blighted building and construct a new single-family home here.
We were in Fishtown earlier today and the thought occurred that we hadn't hit up Rocket Cat Cafe in awhile, so we headed over there with thoughts of some kind of vegan sandwich dancing in our head. When we arrived, we felt our heart and stomach hit the floor simultaneously.
Well that certainly looks like some buildings getting torn down. For those that had never seen Rocket Cat Cafe in the past, this is what it looked like previously.
Until a few weeks ago
We first went to Rocket Cat over a decade ago, before gentrification really got moving in Fishtown. Since it opened way back in 2003, it maintained a certain gritty character that's been fading out in Fishtown. And the thought that it was seemingly gone made us quite sad. Then we did just a little bit of digging around and discovered the excellent news, that Rocket Cat is merely closed down temporarily while their home undergoes a major renovation effort. Huzzah!
The cider business is exploding in America, with exponential growth over the last half dozen years. And as the Philadelphia area has a thriving local brewery scene, it should come as no surprise that the local cidery scene is on the rise. Still, we must admit that we'd never heard of Kurant Cider until earlier this week, when we read a story from Michael Klein that described their plans for a test kitchen and tasting room on East Girard Avenue. Their future home, 436 E. Girard Ave., is a garage that was originally built in the 1800s and was used most recently as a windshield store. The building has a ton of character right now, with a red door and a second level painted teal. We'd guess that it'll look rather different when they're finished their renovation efforts.