We were so excited, over the summer, to share the news that a Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken franchise was planning to open on the southeast corner of 20th & Washington. The plans called for a restaurant with seating for 81 and a liquor license, and actually had the support of the community. The ZBA gave their approval at the end of June, but there's been no progress at the property.
The lack of progress is directly related to the fact that the franchisee never actually signed a lease for this location. Yes, they went to the trouble and expense of getting plans and renderings and then hired an attorney and went through the challenging zoning process for a project without an executed lease. A couple months ago, when the property owner was unable to move forward with the people from Gus's, they started showing the property to other prospective tenants. It wasn't long before a new tenant came forward, one that's much less exciting than a fried chicken place with booze. Funny story, it turns out OCF Realty will be moving from 21st & South to 20th & Washington at some point in 2016. This is probably a good time to mention that this blog is owned by OCF Realty, in case you weren't aware.
So yeah, we get it. A real estate office is less exciting than a Gus's location. But we do have some news of another tenant that will also be occupying this building which should whet the palates of people looking for more food options in the area. Recently, construction got started in a space on the northeast of 20th & Alter which will eventually house a new location for Baker Street Bread Company.
These guys do great work out of their bakery on Germantown Avenue, and they're opening a second location to improve their Center City wholesale business. And from what we understand, there will be counter service here as well. We get it that there's another bakery just a couple blocks to the west and Kermit's is great. But we're suckers for fresh baked everything, and multiple bakery options doesn't sound like the worst thing in the world.
These types of businesses, while admittedly not as compelling as Gus's, are just the types of businesses that should be popping up all over Washington Avenue. There are several other spaces currently available for rent and some mixed-use buildings theoretically coming in the near future. We're slowly seeing a new vibrancy on this corridor, and we can hope that we'll learn about more retail arriving here in the coming year.