More decades ago than we can remember, Ridge Avenue was a vibrant neighborhood commercial corridor in Francisville, offering all sorts of necessities for folks that didn’t have the time or the inclination to travel downtown. The Ridge Avenue Farmers Market, located at 1810 Ridge Ave., was by far the largest building on the corridor and a keystone to commercial traffic on Ridge. As the years went by, however, Francisville faced considerable disinvestment- and as the neighborhood and the corridor faced hard times, so did the Farmers Market. It was no longer operating by the 1970s and it sat vacant and slowly rotting over the ensuing years. Finally, it was demolished in the late 1990s, leaving a giant vacant lot in its stead.

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Back in the mid-1970s

As we’ve covered though, Ridge Avenue has echoed the rest of Francisville over the last decade or so, undergoing a major transformation and seeing long blighted buildings replaced and long vacant lots get filled. For whatever reason, the site of the former Farmers Market has filled in piecemeal- a row of townhomes were built several years ago on Ginnodo Street and a small apartment building appeared on Leland Street a bit more recently. Still, the most prominent section of the property with all the Ridge Avenue frontage lagged behind. A little over a year ago though, we told you that a new building was under construction here, with plans for 24 units and ground floor retail. At that time, the stair and elevator towers were coming out of the ground.

For whatever reason, the construction of this new building seemingly hit a snag. Given the state of the site when we last visited, we would expect the building to be nearing the finish line at this point. Instead, it paused for a time and it seems that work only recently started back up. Steel is now in place for the first floor, setting the stage for framing on the upper floors. Ooh, and we can also share a project rendering, with credit to Design Blendz for the architecture work.

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Current view
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Project rendering

Ridge Avenue still has a ways to go, but this will be an important addition to this improving corridor. For this block especially, which has seen some sizable projects occur over the last few years, the construction of this building and the elimination of a long vacant lot will be a huge step forward.

Renovations and construction to the south

Perhaps the delay will prove to be a blessing for this project, at least in terms of filling the commercial space. Several times, we’ve discussed Ridge Avenue’s surfeit of new retail spaces, but noted that the businesses weren’t really flocking to the corridor, even before the pandemic. As it stands, the building at 1810 Ridge Ave. should be wrapping up at a time that we will (hopefully) be seeing new businesses opening as we emerge from the fog of COVID. Eh, as long as we’re expressing our hopes for the future, let’s instead predict that things will be improving even before this building is done. Yeah, that feels better.