The property at 2500 Reed St. has been sitting vacant for at least a decade, and while our memory doesn't go back much further for the property, we'd think that it was used for some kind of industrial purpose in a previous life. This makes sense, since it sits right next to the CSX tracks and industrial is quite consistent with most of the other buildings that immediately surround the tracks. Plus, the fact that the 166K sqft parcel is sitting entirely empty would seem to suggest that one or two buildings once stood here, not a collection of homes. Two points for anyone that can remember what used to be here.
But enough about the past, let's talk about the present. Specifically, today we'd like to bring it to your attention that this property isn't sitting entirely vacant anymore. To wit, it's looking much greener these days. We passed by recently and noticed a whole bunch of raised garden beds. And while we don't necessarily regard this with the same energy and enthusiasm that we would a large scale mixed use development, we can still appreciate that the greening of this parcel represents a major step up from its previously vacant state.
According to a story from Flying Kite, this large garden came about through a partnership between the Nationalities Service Center, a service organization for refugees that have moved to Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. NSC has leased about two thirds of the property and has worked with PHS to create a garden with about 200 beds for individuals that grow produce to sell locally, and about 200 beds for members of the community. This Green Resource Center, as PHS is calling it, will likely have a limited shelf life, as the Church of the Redeemer Baptist owns the property and intends to eventually build a church on the lot. When that time comes, expect for the GRC to find a new home in South Philadelphia.
In the meantime though, we can see firsthand the power of community gardening to dramatically improve the outlook for a once bleak property.