We were driving west on Washignton Avenue the other day, on our way to grab some lunch at Moe’s Hot Dog House, and new and temporary-looking sign caught our eye. Years ago, we purchased a used sawzall at the Center City Home and Tool Center at 1931 Washington Ave., but that business either disappeared or merged with its parent company, leaving the space available for rent. And very recently, Crossfit Supercharged became the new tenant in this sizable space, next door to Center City Home Center and Millwork.
We were surprised to learn that the business isn’t new to Washington Avenue. Previously, they shared space with a mixed-martial arts gym in a building on the 1700 block which was once a carpet warehouse. Apparently, they were doing so well that it seemed like a good call to branch off into their own space. And while they stick out some on a block filled with stores for contractors, this consumer focused business is simply the latest addition to a changing Washington Avenue.
Earlier this year, Nextfab Studios moved their massive facilities to the 2000 block, with a Cafe L’Aube location on the first floor. Rumor has it that Kermit’s Bakeshop, with pizzas, baked goods, and other deliciousness, will be opening this month on the 2200 block. And though it hasn’t broken ground yet, a mixed-use development is supposedly in the works for the corner of 16th & Washington.
Operating on the theory that foot traffic begets foot traffic, businesses and projects like these should encourage additional businesses to take the plunge and get a little gritty on Washington Avenue. This extra-wide street remains very unfriendly to pedestrians (fast-moving forklifts don’t help), creating a moat of sorts between Graduate Hospital and Point Breeze. But with these pioneers making it a little easier for future businesses to move here, the drawbridge seems to be descending bit by bit every day.