Grays Ferry

Will build new housing for South Bank Campus

About a year ago, we gave you the lowdown on Penn’s 23-acre South Bank campus, located on the former DuPont site between 34th St. & Grays Ferry Ave., and plans for its future. We detailed how technology and startup companies would be drawn to this site, which will eventually contain a combination of renovated and new construction buildings. A master plan from Wallace, Roberts and Todd, ostensibly due to arrive soon, should spell out exactly what's in store for this site.

Preliminary South Bank site plan

Just south of the South Bank campus is the Forgotten Bottom neighborhood, which we've mentioned a handful of times in the past. It's tucked between Grays Ferry Ave., I-76, and the Schuylkill River, and it's pretty easy to miss. Along with a few hundred homes, the neighborhood has a newer baseball field, a large FedEx building, and the entrance to the underutilized Dupont Crescent section of the Schuylkill River Trail. This neighborhood, which has seen little change in recent years, will soon be experiencing an unprecedented amount of development.

New challenge to Pathmark

Last spring, we first told you of plans for a new Bottom Dollar Foods at 31st & Grays Ferry, across the street from the Grays Ferry Pathmark. In November, groundbreaking had taken place, and most of the exterior of the building was already finished. Passing by today, we saw a fully armed and operational battle station that the market is now finished.

Open and crowded

Will this spell trouble for the Pathmark across the street? Or will it mean more options and better prices for locals? Only time will tell, folks.

Right around Memorial Day, we first broke the news that a new Bottom Dollar Foods would be built on a long-vacant lot at 31st & Grays Ferry, across from the Pathmark Shopping Center. We check back in on this site today, the day before Veterans' Day, and discover that the project is moving along rather quickly.

Recent shot

Though we told you about the project about half a year ago, we don't think construction has been going on for much more than a couple of months. Clearly, the developers are looking to put Pathmark out of business as quickly as possible.

It's a shame, really. Hopefully, both markets will be able to coexist successfully. We just aren't sure how.

Perhaps in your travels around town, you've stumbled upon a handsome but weary looking building on the northwest corner of 26th & Wharton. Wharton Hall, as the building was originally called when it was constructed in the late 1800s, has an interesting history and a potentially exciting future.

Wharton Hall in 1959

According to Hidden City, the building was originally used as a meeting hall and an occasional boxing venue, and was converted into a Catholic School in the 1920s. The school moved down the street in the late 1950s, and a photo shop took over the building for the next several decades. It's sat vacant, to our knowledge, for over a decade, and while its facade has deteriorated, the bones still look pretty good. A reader tipped us off recently, though, that the beat-up building is finally getting the love it's been craving for years.

Come what maaaaay!

We admit it- we're fans of the Grays Ferry Pathmark. It's large for a city supermarket, has a decent selection of products, offers some pretty good sales, is relatively clean, and the people who work there are generally friendly and pleasant.

Feels like home

For residents of Graduate Hospital, Point Breeze, and Grays Ferry, it's the most convenient option for shopping for large quantities of food, though without a car (or car share), it's considerably tougher to appreciate. Then again, with the high prices and poor selection at South Square Market and the never-ending lines at Trader Joe's, signing up for Zipcar to go to the Pathmark a couple times a month seems like a no-brainer.

Considering our fondness for the Pathmark, it's with a good bit of shock that we tell you that there's some surprising competition on the horizon. An eagle-eyed reader told us about a little sign they noticed earlier this week at the corner of 31st & Grays Ferry, on the site of a large vacant lot.