For more years than we can remember, the huge parcel on the northwest corner of Broad & Washington has been sitting vacant, aside from a historic train shed which dated back to the 1870s and was most recently used as a food and produce warehouse. As you’re probably well aware, Alterra Property Group purchased this large property a couple years back and has been diligently working on Lincoln Square, a mixed-use project that includes over 300 apartments, more than 100K sqft of retail, and 400+ parking spaces. People have started moving into the apartments, and the retail tenants are beginning to open their doors. Perhaps the project’s most exciting business, Sprouts Farmers Market, opened yesterday, with most of the store occupying the aforementioned historic train shed.
We zipped through Sprouts earlier today, wide eyed and bushy tailed at the chance to explore the first supermarket in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood. Not only were we interested in checking out a new place that’s not too far from the office, but we were also intrigued to see a store opening its first location in the region. Sprouts is based out of Arizona, and has over 300 locations around the country. There are only a handful of Sprouts stores on the east coast, with the closest located in Maryland. In contrast, there are over a hundred stores in California alone.
So what’s this Sprouts place all about? Check out these photos and see for yourself:
First of all, the conversion of the former train shed into a supermarket is a really cool design feature of the store. The gabled roof creates incredibly high ceilings, which makes the store feel very spacious and open. Plus, there’s a ton of natural light that’s brought in through sky lights and other windows, which isn’t terribly common in older grocery stores. The product selection is ok given the limited space in the store, with a large (and affordable) produce section, tons of bulk foods, and a decent mix of Sprouts brand grocery essentials.
Per a story from Philly Mag, Sprouts is huge on sampling and will let customers sample just about anything in the store. Since you’ve probably never tried a single Sprouts branded product, that’s a pretty great way to help you get comfortable. Another helpful tip is that weekly sales start on Wednesday mornings and end on Wednesday nights. In other words, twice as many items are on sale on Wednesdays, compared to other days. So shop at Sprouts on Wednesdays if you’re looking to save maximum dollars. Also, there’s a cafe area and a sandwich spot in the market, so you can grab some lunch or dinner before you do your shopping.
As we said, the store is on the smaller side, maybe even smaller than the Trader Joe’s on Market Street. And with Sprouts branded products filling the shelves, many familiar brands are missing in action. The good news, as we’ve shared in the past, is that a City Target location is also planned for Lincoln Square, and that should be opening in the near future. Once the Target opens, you’ll be able to get your produce and specialty groceries at Sprouts and your Skippy peanut butter and toilet paper at the Target. It won’t quite be one-stop shopping, but it’ll be pretty darn close. And thankfully, all of this comes at the expense of one of the most embarrassing vacant lots in Philadelphia. So about that northeast corner…