What’s With The Row of New Buildings in Forgotten Bottom?

We’ve had a couple of readers reach out to us in recent months, wondering about some new warehouses that have recently appeared on the 1300 block of Warfield Street. Of the top of your head you might not recognize this address, but you’ve probably been here many times before. This block is most commonly seen from the corner of 34th & Wharton, where you’ll often find yourself waiting at the light to get onto I-76 East. A series of restaurants have tried and failed at the corner of Warfield & Wharton over the years, with the latest victim being Ruth’s Express Cafe.

In the past

For a long time, you can see in the image above, there was a stretch of vacant land next to the restaurant building. But if you’ve gotten onto I-76 from this location at any point in the last few months, you’ve probably noticed that a bunch of warehouses have sprouted up on the block. These cinderblock edifices aren’t going to win any architecture awards, but they’ll serve their utilitarian purpose of “storing non-flammable contractor materials,” as described on the permits.

Current view

You can’t quite make it out from the photo, but there’s a sign on one of the buildings advertising office space for lease. We cannot imagine a situation in which someone would drive past this location and think that it would be a great spot for an office, but hey, if the price is right, we’re sure it’ll work for someone. Outside of storage and maybe some office space, only a limited number of other uses would make sense here. As the revolving door at the corner shows us, food service certainly isn’t the answer.

Looking toward the onramp

One other idea that could work at this location would be a retailer that sells construction materials. As you already know, Washington Avenue has the contractor market cornered at the moment. But if you assume that Washington Avenue will continue to transition from industrial to mixed-use, we could soon see an exodus of construction vendors, looking for a new place to set up shop. Warfield Street, with its relatively new buildings and strong visibility, could stand as a pretty good choice for relocation.