Pop quiz – kindly locate 3145 Grays Ferry Ave. on a map. Logic would suggest that it’s the Hertz property on the north side of Grays Ferry Avenue, just east of I-76 and 32nd Street. We’re sorry to say, that’s not it. Instead, 3145 Grays Ferry Ave. is the wedge-shaped property immediately to the west of I-76, and curiously, just west of 32nd Street. For whatever reason, there are no properties with an address on the 3200 block of Grays Ferry, with the dueling gas stations at the corner of 34th Street the only addresses on the 3300 block.
The challenge of identifying the location of this address hasn’t really mattered in our memory, as the location has been used as a salvage yard for years. Before that, it was used as a storage lot for trucks. Interestingly, as far as we can tell, this parcel has been more or less undeveloped dating back decades, having last had some small buildings on the site in the first half of the 20th century as part of the Bower Chemical complex, as well as a parking lot. Since the construction of I-76 in the 1950’s, 3145 Grays Ferry Ave. has been bordered on one side by railroad tracks and on the other side by an elevated highway. So we can understand why it hasn’t been a beacon for redevelopment over all those years.
Finally though, this property is getting redeveloped. And the project in question will be… <drum roll>… a storage facility! According to a story from the Progress News, GoldOller Real Estate Investments has purchased the property and will be constructing a five-story, 157K sqft storage facility on the site. And for a change, we can’t really argue with this plan. It’s an interesting move for this developer, which primarily operates in the residential market, but they’ve dabbled in the self-storage before.
It’s also telling that this developer, which is based in Philadelphia but does projects all over the country, looked at this site and made the call that a storage facility would be the best use of the property. With the considerable development interest in the Grays Ferry neighborhood, we eventually expect that Grays Ferry Avenue will transition from its current state as an industrial/commercial corridor into a mixed-use corridor. That being said, we don’t imagine this will happen in the near term, at least until nearby Washington Avenue makes additional strides toward more apartment buildings.
If and when Grays Ferry Avenue eventually starts to see the construction of mixed-use buildings, we don’t think that this project will suddenly make any less sense. As we mentioned, below grade rail lines are on one side and an elevated highway on the other, so this isn’t exactly a prime spot for apartments. The good news is, if the surrounding area does change over the next number of years and mixed-use starts to make sense here, the owners of the property will be strongly positioned to pivot to a new concept, given their extensive base of experience. In the meantime though, people are soon gonna have a new place near downtown (and convenient to West Philly) to store all the stuff that doesn’t fit in their house or apartment.