Originally known as “Rodin Square”, the Dalian on the Park development near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway has been making major news lately, as the brand new Whole Foods Market, which takes up the majority of the building's retail space, recently opened up. Only partially because we were hungry for lunch, we thought we’d make the trip up to this corner of Center City to see how things look and share with you all. The last time we wrote about the Dalian, the structure's facade was being installed, but the inside was nowhere near complete. It seems this development was completely on target for a completion date we noted at that time, at the end of 2016. Before we get into the building and its supermarket therein, let's take a look at how far we've come…

Back in 2014, the former Best Western

21st and Hamilton, Present Day. A CVS will be here soon.

The frontage on 21st street

From Pennsylvania Ave

When you walk into the Whole Foods for the first time, there's so much space and everything is so clean, it almost feels a bit like you've been transported to another city. Besides regular supermarket items, the new Whole Foods features a vast salad and prepared food area, a “pub,” a large cafe, and 4 other eating areas (we won't call them restaurants in and of themselves) which feature locally owned businesses. All in all, Whole Foods takes up 55K sqft of the building, and stands as one of the largest Whole Foods locations in the country.

The pub, with surprisingly low prices

The produce section

The general vibe of the store

As we walked around the building, the only sections of it that appeared incomplete were the retail spaces which front Spring Garden Street. We haven't heard or read about any tenants for these spots but we imagine they won't have too hard of a time filling up given their prominent location. Again, let's take time to notice how things have changed on the corner of 22nd & Spring Garden.

Back in 2011, empty space gives a nice view of the skyline

Present day, currently empty retail spaces

This building did get some criticism from The Inquirer's Inga Saffron for architecture and design, not to mention the unfortunately large parking lot in the middle of the structure. While those critiques are certainly valid, it's also important to note just how much this building has already contributed to the surrounding neighborhood and the streetscape when compared to what was there before. The difference is truly striking.