We've had our eye on 2835-37 W. Girard Ave. for many years now, and our vigilance has finally been rewarded. We first brought this property to your attention about four years ago, noting that it had been damaged in a fire a few years prior and had sat vacant and blighted ever since. In 2013, we shared the news that the building was listed for sale and hoped that someone would step forward to purchase and renovate the property.

Back in 2013

By the fall of 2014, someone had bought it and we were tickled to report that renovation efforts were getting underway. Plans called for a fourth floor addition, six apartments, and commercial space on the first floor. When we passed by earlier this week, it appeared as though the renovation was complete. The owners opted to create two commercial spaces, and State Rep Donna Bullock recently moved into one of them. You can see, her office was previously located next door.

Dramatic improvement for this property

And that's not all the good news for this block, which is also home to the Monkey and the Elephant Cafe and the tasty slash boozy Rybrew. Over a year ago, we told you that the building on the northeast corner of 29th & Girard was getting redone by MM Partners and would eventually house a new location from the guys who own Pizza Brain. But it's been pretty slow going and you'd have thought that pizza would be happening here by now. At some point in the last couple of months, large cardboard cutouts of pizza slices have appeared in the windows. We will take this as a sign of good things to come.

Pizza slices in the windows

Per the MM Partners website, the building should eventually look something like this:

Rendering of the future

As we've said before, we believe that West Girard is very much on the upswing and new businesses will continue to open here. But it's still a ways from Center City and the progress will come more incrementally than on, say, South Street West or Passyunk Avenue. Still, every time we see a new business coming to this corridor or a formerly blighted building come back to life, we're filled with renewed optimism that this whole West Girard thing is really happening.