As student housing projects have drifted into Southwest Philadelphia, we've seen additional development move further west on Baltimore Avenue. Take, for example, the large Greensgrow which opened last summer on the 5100 block. Or you could also consider the event space that opened on the south side of the 5000 block about a year ago.
Recently, another business joined the fray, as Booker's Restaurant opened its doors on the north side of the 5000 block of Baltimore Avenue. Restaurateur Saba Tedla, owner of Aksum Cafe on the 4600 block, had been planning a restaurant called Babylon Bistro at 5021-23 Baltimore Ave. several years ago, but somehow the business morphed into Booker's along the way. Now it's a hundred seat bar-restaurant that also has live music. We'll properly check it out next time we're in the area during their business hours, but the menu looks pretty solid. And not for nothing, but the buildings are looking much better than they did a few years back.
Almost next door, on the other side of the lot that houses the Taco Angeleno truck, we spied a new looking hole in the ground. 5017 Baltimore Ave. has been sitting empty for at least a decade, and developers stepped in and bought the parcel about a year ago for an excellent price of $80K. Plans are calling for a mixed-use development, with retail on the first floor and three apartments upstairs. Given the incremental progress we're seeing on this block, we're actually optimistic that the developers will find a tenant for the first floor with relative ease. And of course, look for students living on the upper floors.
This is well and good, and it's also excellent that the Mercy Wellness Center expansion on the north side of the block seems to have been 86-ed. Still, several properties on the block are still sitting blighted, like those on the south side near 51st Street.
Soon enough, we imagine these will either get renovated (we hope because they've got sweet bones!) or demoed and rebuilt. As we said, progress has been incremental on this block, but that progress is poised to accelerate in the coming years as the area continues to improve.