Most of us still think of the northwest corner of 4th & South as Lickety Split, even after the folks from Bar Rescue stepped in a couple years ago to create Alleged Pizza on the first floor at 2nd State Lounge upstairs. None of that matters anymore, with both businesses closed and the building under construction for the last few months. Michael Klein shared the news last December that Milkboy would be opening a new location here which could bring some renewed constancy to this corner. And some live music too, we hope.
For people who live at or near the Abbotts Square building on the 200 block of South Street, it's been a pretty bleak couple of years. Almost all of the stores closed back in 2014 as the owners of the building prepared a 20K sqft space for Garden of Eden, a small grocery chain out of New York that amazingly describes itself as "a culinary Mecca for savvy shoppers who demand the finest products and ingredients at the best prices." Then nothing happened.
Corner of 2nd & South, former bank
At the beginning of this year, we spotted some murals in the windows of the empty retail spaces, effectively distracting us from their continued vacancy. With some apparent construction inside, we were cautiously optimistic that something was happening but we weren't sure whether it was Garden of Eden or something else.
More mansions are coming, and they're not in Old City for a change! They'll be rising, uh, like two blocks away from Old City! So yeah, arbitrary neighborhood borders aside, some more giant homes are coming soon, and they'll be a stone's throw from some of the other top-of-market projects we've covered of late.
About a year and a half ago, we wondered about all the retail vacancies on the first floor of Abbott's Square, ultimately learning about a plan for a 20K sqft Garden of Eden grocery store at the corner 2nd & South. Garden of Eden is a small New York based gourmet grocery chain and would have consolidated about half a dozen retail spaces into one while providing the neighborhood with a great new amenity. But we've heard rumors for months that the deal is off. Currently, the space that was slated to become Garden of Eden is just raw space.
A peek inside
We're holding out hope that the Garden of Eden is just delayed and will still happen, but we're not too optimistic. While it waits for the market or some other new tenant, Abbott's Square still has a ton of retail vacancy. To perhaps soften the blow, the building is participating in something called the Window Mural Project, with funding from the Knight Foundation. Artists Buck & Eagle have painted wintery images onto the windows of the empty commercial spaces, distracting passersby from the fact that almost all the active retail on the block is happening on the south side of the street. Check it out.
Ice skating at Penn's Landing has been a tradition for twenty-two years. The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest is a much newer custom that shows that sometimes you can teach an old dog new tricks. Now in its third season, the Winterfest takes the old RiverRink concept, injects it with radioactive steriods, and turns it into an Incredible Hulk of cold weather fun. But with less smashing and more fire pits.