A year ago, the 20th & Chestnut intersection was a somewhat depressing display of the rough go that businesses have had in recent years, with three vacant commercial spaces right off the corner. A building that was built for opticians and most recently held the Christian Science Reading Room called out desperately for a tenant. The campaign offices for Dan Onorato‘s unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign had been empty since November of 2010. And a former video store on the south side of Chestnut Street had been vacant for what seemed like forever.

Now, things are a little different.

In the past

Recent shot

On the north side of the street, Pure Tacos opened in the former reading room space in July, which we told you about months before. In September, lingerie store Hope Chest opened in the former campaign office.

Meanwhile, across the street…

Back in March

Current shot

As we told you about in the spring, Jane G’s moved into this large vacant space, at the bottom of Aldine Trust Company building. Reviews haven’t been stellar yet for this Asian fusion concept, but we’ll cut them a break as they’ve only been operating for a couple of months. And whether critics love or hate the restaurant, it’s great to see this space finally filled with a new business after so many years.

And likewise, it’s wonderful to see three storefronts with new businesses pretty much all at once. Things seem to be looking up for businesses these days, after some tough years. Not to get all political or anything…