According to Plan Philly, a new supermarket and shopping plaza is currently being considered for the vacant corner of 9th St. and Girard Ave. (yes, another supermarket). At a meeting last month, the Philadelphia Planning Commission gave its preliminary support for the redevelopment of the block to 901 Girard Associates LP, who expect the shopping strip and supermarket to take up approximately 20,000 square feet each. The developer is, according to sources, an offshoot of Tower Investments, developers of the Piazza, Liberty Walk, and many other projects in Philadelphia.

The Planning Commission also gave its support for the developer to purchase two city owned lots to complete assembly of the parcel. The development will still require zoning changes from City Council and probably additional variances from the ZBA to move forward; current zoning is split between commercial and industrial. While some Commissioners questioned whether another grocery store could be a bit excessive, at least one representative from the surrounding communities believed that locals are not adequately served by current option at Broad and Oxford or near-future option at 2nd and Girard. It’s unexpected that Tower would build a new supermarket only seven blocks from another one it just built, but hey, they’re the experts, right?

According to the Planning Commission, it will be up to the developer to figure out if the supermarket will be a viable solution or whether the space should be used for alternative retail/commercial spots. Conventional wisdom says that developments like these come with a need for a parking lot, but we’re wondering just how much parking would be necessary for a shopping center with such a local focus. It will be really interesting to see what the developers do here and what the finished product will be. In the grand scheme of things, it’s good to see a vacant lot with a future. Considering the developer, a major fail seems unlikely, and we’re hoping for a positive addition to Girard Ave. that provides serious benefits to the surrounding neighbors in East and West Poplar.

–Kaitlin Bostwick