Society Hill

Actually explains a lot

The bottom of Abbotts Square on the 200 block of South Street has mystified us of late. Most of the little stores on the block's north side have closed or moved in the last year, which has come on the heels of Chef's Market shrinking to a catering operation called Chef's Table. A few years ago, we heard rumors of a restaurant/banquet hall with live music coming to the block, but nothing seems to have come of those plans. But recently a reader tipped us off that a big new tenant is coming soon, explaining why the block looks so desolate at the moment.

Closed stores
Shuttered Citi branch at the corner

According to a flyer from Legend Properties, New York based Garden of Eden is set to take over a giant retail space covering two-thirds of the block. The store, according to their website, "is a culinary Mecca for savvy shoppers who demand the finest products and ingredients at the best prices." So, uh,  that sounds pretty good. We're ballparking here, but it looks like they'll be taking a roughly 20K sqft space for their first location outside of the New York area. It should be fascinating to watch them try to adapt to the Philadelphia market.

New Market site finally getting redeveloped

Somehow, it's been a really long time since we've checked in on 410 S. Front St., the long-vacant former Stamper Square/New Market site in Society Hill. Two years back, Toll Brothers had just presented a concrete plan to the community for a four-story condo building with underground parking. As the time has passed, some project details like the number of units and number of parking spots have changed some, but the overall project remains pretty much the same. Passing by maybe a week ago, we spied what we're pretty sure are elevator towers under construction and a ton of work happening below grade.

Work in progress on Front Street

When it's done, the project, which has been dubbed 410 at Society Hill, will have 55 condo units and 110 parking spaces. The units range from 1-bedroom all the way to a massive 5-bedroom unit that looks like it required the combination of three or four apartments. Prices, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal, are between $500K and $3.5M for the aforementioned massive apartment. Sales are going very well, with nearly half of the units already sold. Considering the current state of the property, that is unbelievable to us.

Check out some of the most recent renderings, so you can see where this thing is going.

Should come as no surprise

Philadelphia's relationship with its rivers is... shall we say, complex. In recent years, we've done a better job connecting with the Schuylkill River, mostly thanks to the wonderful Schuylkill River Trail. We're trying to get back to the Delaware River too, but that's a much more challenging lift due to the presence of I-95 and Delaware Avenue. Still there are examples of successful forays toward the river. Race Street Pier is one of the better parks in Philadelphia. Morgan's Pier is a great place to enjoy a drink and stare at Camden. The best place we've discovered so far though, will only last through the summer.

In April, we told you about Spruce Street Harbor Park, a temporary public space created by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation where Spruce Street meets the Delaware. Though it officially opens for business today, we snuck in last night (along with like 700 other people at a whyilovephilly party) to get a taste of what this pop-up brings to the table. Needless to say after the job that DRWC did during the cold months with the Waterfront Winterfest, this park is just wonderful.

DRWC's newest pop-up

Remember a few months ago, when we tried to describe the awesomeness of the Waterfront Winterfest, and urged you to check it out quickly and repeatedly? That experience came from the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation in case you forgot. And this summer, it seems, the DRWC will be at it again.

Today a press release found its way to our inbox, announcing the Spruce Street Harbor Park at the Penn's Landing Marina. This two-month pop-up will include the creation of a little pier that has a restaurant, a water garden, and nets that will allow visitors to feel like they're walking on the water in the river without actually having to touch it. On the shore, you'll find a boardwalk, misting areas, some temporary fountains, a hammock garden (!), and an urban beach. Sorry Sugarbeach, there's a new game in town this summer!

What will replace it?

Several years ago, a Citibank branch opened its doors at the corner of 2nd & South. This always struck us as a little odd, as Citi didn't really have much of a presence in Philadelphia. But perhaps, we thought, this location would be a first foray into a new market for this hulking banking giant, and soon Citi would be as ubiquitous as PNC or Bank of America.

In the past

Alas, it seems that this was not the case. Passing by over the weekend, we discovered that the Citibank has closed here, and the space is now vacant. A Metro Commercial sign in the window suggests it's available for rent. We would have to think that this space will be attractive for any number of new tenants.

Pages