Last month, Orens Brothers appeared at the tail end of a community zoning meeting to informally present the plans, and to gauge reactions from neighbors, according to SHCA zoning chair Barry Grossbach. For it to happen, the project would demolish vacant and occupied homes and a building that stretches from Chestnut to Ludlow Street. It would include some PRA-owned properties, according to Grossbach. It's still to be determined how the ownership agreements will work out.
The corner of 32nd & Race is pretty much on the border of Drexel's campus, but in the coming decades that stands to change. East of 32nd Street are the Septa railyards, the development of which are part of Drexel's Master Plan. That plan will take quite some time to execute, and it's entirely possible that the rail yards will look as they do today in thirty years. But we can say with some great confidence that the surface lot on the northwest corner of 32nd & Race will be changing much more quickly. And for the better.
Over the past few years the western end of the Baltimore Avenue commercial corridor has seen considerable improvements. These changes were anchored by the relocation of the Mariposa market on the 4800 block in 2012, and since then, we've seen the openings of Little Baby's Ice Cream, The Marvelous, and Greensgrow farm on the 4900 block. among other new businesses. The latter appeared at the site where Elena's Soul burned down on Christmas Eve 2012.
Greensgrow, last summer
The most recent is Spirited Tattooing Coalition, set to open this month at 4918 Baltimore Ave., a location last occupied by a market. The tattoo parlor will double as a local art gallery, and will be run by Jasmine Morrell. Morrell will be the proprietor of "the first queer-owned tattoo shop in Philadelphia."
University City High School sits on a massive parcel of land between Lancaster and Filbert, 36th and 38th Streets. The Walnut Center and Drew Elementary also once shared this parcel, but Drew was razed earlier this year and TWC before that. When we passed the site last week, rubble was piled like junk heaps across the site. UCHS has yet to be demolished, but it's coming. Last year we wrote about plans from Drexel and Wexford Science and Technology, who envisioned a major mixed-use development on the site. Those plans included the vision of a new public school. According to Niki Gianakis, of Drexel, the abatement of the University City High School building is continuing and the actual demolition will start in mid-April.
For so many years, Chilis held down the northwest corner of 38th & Chestnut, on the edge of Penn's campus. Recently, the chain restaurant shut its doors and when we passed by recently there were signs advertising a "short term lease" opportunity.
Apparently someone has already jumped on the space, as the Daily Pennsylvanian reports signs in the windows of the restaurant advertising a new restaurant called Tarka. The restaurant will serve some kind of Asian cuisine, but beyond that we don't have any more details.