We found ourselves in the River Wards around lunchtime the other day, and as is occasionally our wont we stopped over at Fresh Works, a little sandwich shop on Belgrade Street. As we were trying to decide between a hoagie or a salad, we noticed a chain link fence around 2613 Miller St., the property next door. A beer distributor was located here for a long time, but the business has closed and its former home is now gone. Signage on the old warehouse next door still advertises the beer distributor, though.

Screen Shot 2018-09-13 At 12.28.48 PM
In the past
Current view
Building next door

We took to public record to see what we could find out about this property, and quickly learned that new owners, Draft House Philadelphia LLC, bought the 9,000 sqft parcel a little over a year ago, paying $800K. At first glance, one might think that the buyers of this property have some connection to Interstate Drafthouse, the nearby pub on Palmer Street. Perhaps this might mean a second location, or a relocated bar?

It’s certainly possible that the developers of the Miller Street property are tied to the owners of the bar, after all the name of the street would seem like a dynamite fit for a drinking establishment. But the permits for the property give us a strong indication that a bar isn’t terribly likely here. According to those permits, we can expect a four story apartment building at this site, with 19 apartments, 16 parking spaces on the first floor, and a small commercial space with frontage on Belgrade Street. Kore Design Architecture has a rendering on their website, which you can also see below:

Project rendering

Given the sandwich shop and the warehouse (which has permits for an artist studio conversion) next door, you might think that this project is happening in a bit of an odd location. And the fact that the address sits just a few steps off Aramingo Avenue might further that perspective. But we’d counter that this location has a few things going for it. It’s incredibly walkable, with a supermarket (and an Arby’s) just a few steps away. Walk a few more blocks and you get to the Girard Avenue corridor in one direction, or Stock’s in the other. And there’s a park and a playground across the street. The project also calls for almost 1:1 parking, so anyone that has to drive to the ‘burbs for work will have easy highway access and a parking spot waiting for them when they get home.

Don’t get us wrong, we love a good beer distributor and we’re always sorry to see a business close. But as far as we can tell, this new building will represent a considerable upgrade over what was here before, and we wonder whether we’ll see other developers in this neck of the woods take a similar approach with other projects. Further, we wonder what kind of business will open in the little retail space on Belgrade Street; safe to assume it won’t be a sandwich shop.