Another Mixed Use Project Coming to East Girard

Last week, we told you that some old buildings had disappeared on Berks Street, and a new condo project would soon rise behind the shopping center on East Girard Avenue that's home to Beer City and a Dunkin Donuts. To say the least, this shopping center isn't exactly monument to 21st century commerce.

Shopping center on Girard

Inspired by our coverage of this immediate area, the owners of 629 E. Girard Ave., the property across the street from the shopping center, reached out to us to share news of a project that's now moving forward. Here's a look at that property right now:

Current view

We've covered projects nearby in the past, with seven homes going up on Flora Street a couple years ago and the four story buildings on the left of the photo above arriving about a year ago. Like those four-story buildings, the plan for 629 E. Girard Ave. will also be of the mixed-use variety, but unlike that project it appears that this one won't seek a variance. According to the developers, they're planning a three-story building with eight apartments and a 2,900 sqft retail space. They were even kind enough to share some renderings.

Project rendering

Another angle

View from above

This will be a great addition to the corridor, though we'd argue that this is a situation where zoning stifles a project that could be bigger and better. This property is zoned CMX-2 and therefore subject to a 38' height limit. Since the project appears to be happening by-right, we're looking at a three-story building on a major commercial corridor, just a block from I-95. Four stories and 12 units would have made for a nicer project in our estimation, but we can certainly appreciate why the developers would have opted for the less risky path of by-right development in this case. Perhaps an upzoning of this corridor to CMX-2.5 would make things easier for future projects?