Two summers ago we told you that a Seattle man and wife that founded Rakumi Arts International, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting African arts and culture, had relocated to Philly, and planned to return a former corner retail spot at 26th & Poplar back from residential use into a coffee shop.
The Lucky Goat Coffee House opened last fall. Despite some comments on our original post about local competition from RyBread, Flying Saucer, and the then Mugshots, now High Point Cafe at 28th & Girard, the cafe, which serves La Colombe coffee, was busy during a bright and beautiful recent Saturday morning.
We're wondering if in the coming years there may be a surge of redevelopment here. To start, there's already major plans underway for a mixed-use project just to the north at 27th & Girard. Across Poplar, the long vacant former Old English Tavern was recently demolished. The building is owned by the Gravely family, which owns a number of similarly blighted properties in the area, including the large vacant lot next door, and was recently taken to Blight Court, according to L&I. Their work has been on our radar for a few years now. They have, however, been making steps towards the positive, as they've been paying down delinquent taxes.
We're wondering if the Gravely's are hunkering down and waiting before they divest of the sites to see how much property values rise in Brewerytown on the heels of Fairmount and Francisville market success the past few years, or if they are preparing develop instead. One can envision a string of new homes with ground-floor retail here, but that's not the rhythm of Brewerytown along Poplar here. It's got the corner spots. Like Lucky Goat and North Star Bar. So we'll see if anything happens soon, or if the wait will continue.