The northeast corner of 22nd & South was home to Omega Pizza for as long as we can remember, offering neighbors a remarkably mediocre slice and a surprisingly diverse, if somewhat overpriced selection of beer to go. Omega Pizza was definitely a throwback, the likes of which would never open at this location in the current business climate on South Street West. So it was not at all surprising, a couple years back, when we learned that the business would be closing and its little three-story building replaced by a more significant five-story mixed-use project.
The project was approved in relatively short order, with demolition taking place in early 2017. By last summer, the framing work was substantively complete, and we predicted the project would finish by the springtime. And what do you know, here we are, it’s springtime at last and it seems like the project is just about finished. The Wawa on the first floor opened its doors today (and is still offering free coffee), and we believe the 20 apartments on the upper floors aren’t far behind. Alterra Property Group, the same company currently building Lincoln Square at Broad & Washington, is the developer here, and looking at the new building, we see a bit of a resemblance to the bigger project on the other end of the neighborhood.
The new Wawa represents the third national retailer to open at this corner in the last handful of years. Back in 2012, CVS built a new spot at the southeast corner, replacing a surface parking lot. Starbucks opened a little over a year ago on the northwest corner, in a space that was previously home to L2. At the time of this writing, My Thai, on the southwest corner, is the only locally owned business remaining at 22nd & South.
All respect to the owners of My Thai, who have been doing their thing at this corner for a looong time. Don’t get us wrong, we patronize CVS and we enjoy Wawa as much as any red blooded Philadelphian, but we especially appreciate local businesses and are glad that My Thai has been able to hang around as South Street West has crawled out of a lengthy downturn. Wawa slinging hoagies 24 hours a day right across the street will definitely bring more people to this intersection than ever before, and could boost the bottom line at My Thai moving forward. Or alternately, the people from Wendy’s or a business of that ilk will come forward and offer to buy out their lease at a price they can’t refuse. We’ll be rooting for the former, of course.