The Ridge Avenue redevelopment story is becoming a little old hat, with new mixed-use projects seemingly springing up every few weeks or so. It's important to note though, that all of those stories are about Ridge Avenue in Francisville, and once you cross Girard Avenue things continue to look extremely bleak. Just a couple blocks to the north, the east side of Ridge Avenue between Master and Oxford Streets is almost entirely vacant. It's a pretty amazing sight, especially when you consider all the progress on Ridge Avenue in Francisville.
Last week, Philly.com posted a story that indicates that change is in order for this stretch of Ridge Avenue. According to the story, PHA has signed an agreement with Sav-A-Lot to develop an 18,500 grocery store on one of the vacant Ridge Avenue parcels near Jefferson Street. PHA will foot the $4.5M construction bill and the grocery store will pay for the fit-out of the space. Incidentally, we couldn't find any info about Sav-A-Lot, the store mentioned in the article, so we have to assume that the deal is actually with Save-A-Lot, a grocery chain with 1,300 locations across the country.
For people living in this area, the closest supermarket is a Fresh Grocer on Broad Street near Temple University, so this area is essentially a food desert. With a ton of affordable housing now under construction in the surrounding Sharswood, and a ton of additional construction on tap for future years, this market should have a growing customer base. And it's a particularly nice fringe benefit that its creation will wipe out a huge vacant lot that's been dragging down Ridge Avenue for years. We wouldn't posit that this section of Ridge is quite ready for the rebirth we're seeing below Girard, but it's not out of the question that development will spread to the north. And a supermarket shouldn't hurt one bit.