Trader Joe’s Coming to Queen Village???

Update: The owner of this property read our story and reached out to us, passing along the message that there is no deal with Trader Joe’s for this location. Bummer.

If you’ve ever visited Philadelphia’s lone Trader Joe’s on a Saturday afternoon, you’d surely agree that our fine city could use a second location, or maybe a couple more. The parking lot is a disaster. The line winds its way around the store, sometimes extending all the way to the entrance. People get really grouchy. It’s just an awful scene, all the way around. Over the years, we’ve hoped for another Trader Joe’s with every major project that’s come down the pike, but have come up disappointed time and time again. But yesterday, out of left field, we heard that a new Trader Joe’s could be coming to a location we never would have predicted.

NW corner of Leithgow & Bainbridge

(At least) one of our readers is a patient at the dentist’s office at the corner of Leithgow & Bainbridge, in a building on the 400 block of Bainbridge, across from Bainbridge Green. At this person’s last appointment, they learned that the dentist’s office was moving to a new location because the building was under new ownership. Further, they heard that the new owner also owns the two buildings next door, the large parking lot on the block, and the Painting With a Twist building at the corner of Passyunk & Bainbridge. Collectively, these parcels measure about 30,000 sqft.

Surface parking lot
Painting With a Twist building

According to the reader that reached out to us, the owner of this sizable property intends to demolish all buildings on the site and build a big new building with a Trader Joe’s. With CMX-3 zoning, the developers could build a five-story building by right with retail on the lower floors and apartments above. If indeed a project were to include a Trader Joe’s, we’d have to think that plans would include at least two levels of underground parking, maybe three.

We reached out to QVNA for confirmation, but they haven’t heard anything about plans for this property to date. In an effort to make sure the reader wasn’t just messing with us, we visited the dentist’s office and asked around, and a couple employees indicated that they had indeed heard rumors of a Trader Joe’s coming to this location. We won’t suggest that this is enough evidence to convince anyone that this rumor has legs, but it’s certainly worth considering the possibility that where there’s smoke there’s fire with this story.

If indeed there are legit plans for a second Trader Joe’s, it would obviously be a cause for celebration among fans of the supermarket. As we said, we never would have predicted that the 400 block of Bainbridge would be the location of choice, but then again we have no idea how supermarkets choose their locations and we have to think that TJ’s would do their homework if and when they pick out another space.

What do you think? If this rumor proves accurate, would this be a good location for a Trader Joe’s? Or is this spot too much of a challenge, between the residential neighborhood to the south and the commercial corridor to the north? If the rumors aren’t true, where would you like to see a second Trader Joe’s?

  • DensityIsGreat

    I shop at TJs and would love a second location but Passyunk and Bainbridge is ill-suited traffic-wise. Of course, there are many people in the area who could walk there but getting there by car, no thank you. However, developing that parking lot would be nice, even if I loose my Zipcar location.

    Any chance these buildings are historic?

  • Tjinphilly

    Underground parking…ROFL…I honestly did a spit take when this article suggested that the development might include underground parking, and gagged on my tongue when they suggested two to three floors of underground parking. Developers in this city would rather shoot themselves in the eyes than build underground parking. While I would truly, truly love to see such a thing happen…I just don’t see a developer in this city doing unless someone is whipping them into submission.

    • NakedPhillyFox

      Cannot see a world in which TJ’s would open somewhere without considerable parking. Also with apartments above the code has a 3:10 parking requirement. Another possibility would be a standalone TJ’s with parking on the roof, a la the South Street Whole Foods.

      • DensityIsGreat

        Actually, isn’t TJs known for small lots? I have never been in a TJ with as much parking as the South St Whole Foods. They understand that there is no such thing as free parking

      • pfatl

        You must live in a world that doesn’t have a Manhattan. I’m amazed you have internet access in that world.

  • Alex

    I’ve been praying for another TJ location on the east side for years, but this location doesn’t make a lot of sense. Perfect place would be the SONO / Callow East / Pegg’s Run area sandwiched between Old City, Northern Liberties and North Broad/Callowhill with lots of open space, better traffic situation and access to 95/676.

  • HolyFrijoles11

    Because the great unwashed live down that way.

  • Mike Penn

    LOL at Trader Joe’s rumors. First it was the the Acme space on 5th street, then it was the old drug rehab space on the 200 block of Arch, then the Piazza. I’ll never understand chain store love to the point it becomes an obsession. Also for the weekend complainers, Trader Joe’s is open until 10pm at night, so go during the week.

  • habitus corporis, soros $hill

    Whoever owns these lots should just build on all of them. Forget the parking, the lot is an eyesore. Build a TJ or neighborhood supermarket with 5-6 stories of apartments on top. It’s self-sustaining.

  • habitus corporis, soros $hill

    Sure, but TJ carries a lot of private label stuff that is flat-out awesome. Their produce is generally pretty good as is their meats/cheeses. We also have the Italian Market and the farmer’s market at Headhouse nearby and a smattering of smaller markets. Doesn’t mean this development couldn’t attract TJ as a tenant and provide another good spot for QV/BV/society hill.

  • qguy

    For anything else, people would be howling that someone wanted to demolish those great buildings. I guess we’ll sell our hypocritical soul for a Trader Joe’s.

  • pfatl

    LOL re “Grocery coming to 2nd and South”. Hope you havent been holding your breath.