Washington Avenue has certainly seen some positive changes in recent years. Restaurant Cafe Ynez is doing their thing on the first floor of the successful NextFab Studios. Kermit's is killing it on the 2200 block. There's even a crossfit gym. But all of these developments, while certainly excellent, are small potatoes. We're still waiting for that big thing to transition Washington Avenue from a forklift-laden moat between two neighborhoods to a walkable, pedestrian friendly bridge between Graduate Hospital and Point Breeze.
That could happen if someone buys and finally redevelops the Frankford Chocolate Factory. Or when construction starts at 1601 Washington Ave. on a new mixed-use building. Or perhaps when a beer garden/entertainment venue opens at 22nd & Washington.
Currently, the building on the southeast corner is home to a tile shop, Architectural Window of Philadelphia, an auto garage, and a donut shop. But it seems that these tenants are on the outs and the entire building is available for lease. MSC Retail has the listing, and they're thinking big. They're currently advertising the 24K sqft property as a possibility for live entertainment and/or "large format food use." They even put together some renderings of an imaginary Washington Beer Garden.
Of course, someone will first have to come forward to lease the space and they'll need to have the kind of dough necessary to transform it. But hey, a similar situation worked out at Union Transfer, so why not on Washington Avenue?
Sure, this is a bit of a pipe dream. But it's exactly the kind of development Washington Avenue could use to take a big step forward.
It's Friday. Let's dream a little.
Monday Update: After this story went live, we heard from Jacob Cooper at MSC. Regarding the property, he said "We see Washington Avenue as the perfect canvas for retail development. The blocks are large and some of the buildings have fantastic architectural features. 2118 Washington Avenue, with its double height clerestory and limited column interruption, screamed beer hall to us – and the renderings really show the potential for that use. That is our vision but the possibilities are endless. We are in discussions now with several operators to lease all or portions of the property."
So this thing might have some real legs after all, folks.