Before Demolition, A Neon Sign Installation at Santoro’s Beer Distributor

Access to booze is reorganizing in Brewerytown, and MM Partners is unsurprisingly right in the middle of the action. Remember, last year they purchased 2511 W. Girard Ave., the building that was home for many years to a Fine Wine & Good Spirits location. That space became superfluous when a new state store opened on the other end of the neighborhood, in the Bottom Dollar turned Aldi shopping center at 31st & Girard. MM Partners converted the building into a two story commercial property, with Steelworks Strength and Sound Space as the prominent tenants.

Santoro’s Beer Distributor operated for a long time next door at 2517 W. Girard Ave., making for incredibly convenient one-stop shopping for people looking for beer and wine/liquor. At some point recently though, Santoro’s closed and MM Partners purchased their double wide property for $650K. A sign posted in the door suggests that an MM Partners project is coming soon.

Shuttered Santoro's

Looking at the building, you might notice there’s a neon sign that’s been installed in a long unused billboard frame. The sign isn’t an advertisement, but a temporary art installation, adding interest to the property until MM Partners starts doing whatever they’re planning on doing.

Looking up
View at night, credit to @aplaceintheuniverse
Description of the sign installation

The artist for this piece is Alicia Eggert, in a collaboration with the property owner, the Mural Arts Program, Fairmount CDC, and Gazelle Signs, and curated by Ryan Strand Greenberg. As the description above says, the piece makes a statement about the nature of light, that all the light we see originated at some point in the past. Accordingly, the sign alternates between being fully illuminated, being partially illuminated (and reading “all you see is past”), and briefly turning off. If you’d like to see a video of the sign in action, click here.

Neighborhood maven @genbrewerytown has heard rumblings that the building will be demolished in the fall, and this makes sense to us. MM Partners paid a hefty price for the property and a mixed-use two-story building on this block wouldn’t seem to work financially, given the price they paid. The property is zoned CMX-2.5, which allows generous height and density by right, so it’s fair to expect a four story building here, at least. Until work gets moving on the project though, we’ll enjoy the art piece for as long as it lasts.