Access to Trader Joe’s on Market Street is Gonna Get Complicated Pretty Soon

A small corner of Logan Square is currently experiencing a massive transformation, and it’s all thanks to the folks at PMC Property Group doubling and tripling down on their holdings in this part of the city. As you may recall, this developer is currently building the Riverwalk project, which consists of two towers that are currently under construction which will include 711 apartments and a grocery store. A couple weeks ago, we noted that this project was picking up a third tower at 2301 JFK Blvd. which will add another 275 units to the mix, making for a total of nearly 1000 units between the three buildings. Add in another 115 units in a four-story building in another PMC project planned at 23rd & Cherry, and that’s a whole bunch of apartments in a small area from one developer.

Like we always say, if you’re going to triple down on an area, why not quadruple down? And wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what PMC is doing. They own 2121 Market St., a building they converted to apartments in the early 2000s, but you probably know this as the address of what was Philadelphia’s only Trader Joe’s location until quite recently. Unsurprisingly, PMC also owns the Trader Joe’s parking lot, which is famous for being a total disaster if you show up at the wrong time, AKA just about any time. This hasn’t been as much the case in the age of COVID, as the store is limiting capacity to maintain social distancing.

Current view. Line of people waiting to get into Trader Joes

Given its tremendous location and its potential for a higher and better use, it’s kind of a no brainer that PMC would have an eye on redeveloping this surface parking lot. And that’s exactly what their recent Civic Design Review submission indicates. According to the plans, they intend to build an edifice that rises a total of 29 stories, with 6 levels of parking and 23 floors of apartments, with a total unit count of 341. The building will also include 218 parking spaces, with 103 spaces for the building and the rest, ostensibly, for Trader Joe’s customers. Here are the renderings from Solomon Cordwell Buenz, which show a building that would be very compatible with the others PMC is building nearby.

Project rendering
Northern rendering
Sidewalk view on JFK
View on 22nd Street
Access area to Trader Joe's, including loading area

When this project eventually moves forward, it will greatly complicate access to one of the most popular markets in town for a couple years at the very least. Let us hope that people won’t have to wait on line to get into Trader Joe’s when that day comes. Once it’s finished, we suspect that parking lot flow will improve for the market, as the number of spaces will increase by about 40% and the parking areas will surely be designed to accommodate people going to and from the market. Loading will be a challenge, but it’s certainly part of the plan and assuming that trucks come during less busy times it shouldn’t disrupt things too badly.

Another PMC project, visible nearby

In all, PMC is planning about 1500 units between their four towers and their low-rise project, and if we may state the obvious, this will represent a dramatic influx of new residents to this area. We would agree with Inga Saffron that all of the new projects currently being proposed as developers race against the sunsetting ten-year tax abatement won’t get built, but we’re incredibly optimistic that the PMC projects will indeed come to fruition. Their track record is certainly a factor, as is the location of their projects. If there’s any part of the city that could definitely use more units, it’s downtown and close to 30th Street Station. Yeah, the city is still battling through COVID and all its associated challenges. But when we come out on the other side of this, whenever that happens, these may well be some of the most desirable units in town.