Update: The owner of this property read our story and reached out to us, passing along the message that there is no deal with Trader Joe’s for this location. Bummer.
If you’ve ever visited Philadelphia’s lone Trader Joe’s on a Saturday afternoon, you’d surely agree that our fine city could use a second location, or maybe a couple more. The parking lot is a disaster. The line winds its way around the store, sometimes extending all the way to the entrance. People get really grouchy. It’s just an awful scene, all the way around. Over the years, we’ve hoped for another Trader Joe’s with every major project that’s come down the pike, but have come up disappointed time and time again. But yesterday, out of left field, we heard that a new Trader Joe’s could be coming to a location we never would have predicted.
(At least) one of our readers is a patient at the dentist’s office at the corner of Leithgow & Bainbridge, in a building on the 400 block of Bainbridge, across from Bainbridge Green. At this person’s last appointment, they learned that the dentist’s office was moving to a new location because the building was under new ownership. Further, they heard that the new owner also owns the two buildings next door, the large parking lot on the block, and the Painting With a Twist building at the corner of Passyunk & Bainbridge. Collectively, these parcels measure about 30,000 sqft.
According to the reader that reached out to us, the owner of this sizable property intends to demolish all buildings on the site and build a big new building with a Trader Joe’s. With CMX-3 zoning, the developers could build a five-story building by right with retail on the lower floors and apartments above. If indeed a project were to include a Trader Joe’s, we’d have to think that plans would include at least two levels of underground parking, maybe three.
We reached out to QVNA for confirmation, but they haven’t heard anything about plans for this property to date. In an effort to make sure the reader wasn’t just messing with us, we visited the dentist’s office and asked around, and a couple employees indicated that they had indeed heard rumors of a Trader Joe’s coming to this location. We won’t suggest that this is enough evidence to convince anyone that this rumor has legs, but it’s certainly worth considering the possibility that where there’s smoke there’s fire with this story.
If indeed there are legit plans for a second Trader Joe’s, it would obviously be a cause for celebration among fans of the supermarket. As we said, we never would have predicted that the 400 block of Bainbridge would be the location of choice, but then again we have no idea how supermarkets choose their locations and we have to think that TJ’s would do their homework if and when they pick out another space.
What do you think? If this rumor proves accurate, would this be a good location for a Trader Joe’s? Or is this spot too much of a challenge, between the residential neighborhood to the south and the commercial corridor to the north? If the rumors aren’t true, where would you like to see a second Trader Joe’s?