It was the summer of 2011 that we first clued you in that the Garden of the Arts, a community garden on the northeast corner of Broad & South was on the way out, and in its place would soon rise Southstar Lofts, a new mixed-use development by Dranoff Properties. It’s been a year and a half, and it looks like the project is finally ready to get underway.

The site

Closer look

We’re basing this assumption on the fact that the retail space in the building is now being actively marketed on Loopnet, a website dedicated to commercial leasing. According to Loopnet, just over 10,000 sqft of retail space is available, divisible down to 1,500 sqft units. The price is $45/sqft/yr, and the expected availability is December 2013, which also gives us an indication that work should be getting started very soon.

Loopnet rendering

Closer look, also from Loopnet

We’re generally huge proponents of community gardens and certainly recognize the benefits they bring to neighborhoods. But this is one case where mixed-use development is strongly preferred to green space. At a prominent Center City intersection, immediately adjacent to a Broad Street Line stop, and basically next door to University of the Arts, this corner screams out for density and retail. And in contrast to Dranoff’s most recent Broad Street project, 777 South Broad, we imagine they’ll have an extremely easy time finding commercial tenants for this new building.

So what do people expect to see on this corner? A restaurant or two? A bar? Convenience store? Yet another pharmacy to join to parade of pharmacies on South Street? We’ll just have to wait and see.