With the growth of Northern Liberties on one side and South Kensington on the other, a bunch of new buildings have risen and some others are in the works on the West Girard corridor. In addition, some older buildings have been renovated, attracting new businesses. By the time you get to 7th Street though, most of that momentum has petered out. It actually gets kind of depressing, despite the presence of Tiffin on the 700 block. A couple of years ago, we showed you just how vibrant this area once was, with a collection of small businesses and the Girard Theater. The former theater has been a market for decades, a change that happened even when the block was still in good shape. Unfortunately, the current Fine Fare has been stripped of all the wonderful details that made the theater so grand.
At the risk of repeating ourselves, it seems possible that this stretch could be poised for a recovery in the not-too-distant-future. At the corner of Marshall & Girard, developers purchased a double-wide shell about a year ago. Sometime over the last few months, they tore it down. The loss of those buildings is actually a big improvement for the block- they looked really bad.
Though we don't see any permits and it doesn't seem like the same developers own the corner lot, it's possible that they're gearing up for something at this location, in the shadow of the rear of the former theater. On the other side of the Fine Fare, you'll notice the shattered remains of three buildings. That parcel has been on and off that market over the years, and came available again at the beginning of this month for just under $600K. Though the lot's quite big, we don't think investors are looking to drop that kind of dough for a parcel on this block just yet. Perhaps if the owners finished demolishing the remains of the old building, they might get some more bites. But who knows?
What we do know is that this block still looks far worse than it did decades ago, but it's slowly crawling toward improvement. Development in South Kensington is creeping westward, and high-end Northern Liberties construction is just a couple of blocks to the south. Hopefully, we'll come back to this spot again in a couple of years and see some real changes. Really, it would be even better if those changes occurred more quickly.