The Southern End of Frankford Ave.: Rarely Considered, but Not for Long?

While millions of shad that once swam through the Delaware River off the banks of Fishtown have been killed off by American industry among other things, Fishtown is faring quite well these days, thank you very much, in terms of neighborhood revitalization. While the development of Frankford Ave. north of Girard is well documented, the quieter southern stretch of Frankford Ave., between Girard Ave. and SugarHouse Casino, has deservedly received less attention.

From Google
Looking north
Other side of the street, looking north. Barcade is in the building next to the empty lot

But things are starting to move in this area.

A lengthy road improvement project that diverted traffic off of this street for months recently came to an end.

Barcade opened its doors a couple of weeks ago. Despite some licensing issues, Bookspace has been hosting various arts events, including trapeze acts in the past couple of years. The Barbary has been in the neighborhood for years, and rumor has it there are plans for a a new business next door. That’s two  entertainment venues, a bar (with video games!), and a possible new venture along these two blocks.

The takeaway is that the area is reaching a critical mass of local residents and visitors to support these different types of businesses, and there should be room for more growth. Look not further than the numerous dilapidated old warehouses and several of vacant lots for where that growth can take place.

We’re wondering if any of the dozens of developers that have been building in Fishtown will send their crews a hammering to this area. And what about more retailers?

Huge warehouse, just south of where I-95 crosses Frankford Ave.

At the bottom of Frankford Ave., across Delaware Ave. is the much-maligned casino. “SugarHouse Casino has been a non-entity,” said Larry Freedman, zoning chair of the Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association, speaking about the casino in terms of problems the public thought might arise, like an increase in the volume of traffic and crime. He said he mostly considers Sugarhouse as a means to generate money to rehabilitate area roads and generate money for revitalization. One million dollars a year, that is, available through the Penn Treaty Special Services District (PTSSD).

With that money available for investment into the community as well as private investors doing their thing, it should be very interesting to see how the southern end of Frankford Ave. develops in the years to come.

–Lou Mancinelli