957-63 Frankford Ave. is a property that’s loaded with potential, with a 6,100 sqft footprint that’s across the street from the Fillmore and directly on the path that leads to the heart of Fishtown. The property was available for sale for years, first listed at $1.8M in 2008 and eventually selling for a much more reasonable $800K in 2015. One possible reason that the property sold at that time was the fact that it had been rezoned from industrial use to commercial use, opening up the possibilities for redevelopment. Well, you would think so, at least.

The property

A little over a year ago, word came out that Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company was planning to open a tap room at this location. This seemed like a great concept which would dovetail with the entertainment complex across the street and potentially draw additional customers from the adjacent Barbary and Sugarhouse. According to a post from the brewery, the project has fallen through because it took longer than expected to procure the needed zoning variance for their business. This is a major bummer, though the post did indicate that the brewery was negotiating for a different space in Fishtown, so the neighborhood still might see this concept open at a different location.

From the other direction

So what will happen at 857 Frankford Ave.? Glad you asked. A reader reached out last week, sharing the news that new operators had procured a zoning permit for the building which did not require a variance. That zoning permit is for a medical marijuana dispensary with an associated massage therapist on the first floor of the property. A couple weeks ago, Philly.com reported that several companies applied for these zoning permits at locations around town, hopeful that they would be able to procure one of the 27 dispensary permits being issued by the state. We couldn’t begin to handicap the odds that this particular operator will be successful in receiving one of those permits, nor do we have any idea how a marijuana dispensary and a massage therapist fit together in the same business.

What do you think? Does this seem like a good business for this location? Or would you have preferred the tap house? Or something else entirely?