Two years after a Christmas Eve fire at Elenas's Soul toppled three businesses along the 4900 block of Baltimore Avenue, Gary's Nails, the third business that closed due to the fire, is now undergoing renovations to reopen.
When we passed by a couple of days ago, we saw new lumber inside 4910 Baltimore Ave. as well as a dumpster outside, and work permits in the window. And next door at 4912, where Elena's Soul used to be, a new Greensgrow site, a small urban farm that sells what it grows, was open. Right next door to that, the Cedar Park Cafe has been open since August.
The Baltimore Avenue commercial corridor in Cedar Park has been transformed over the past few years. It seems to have started with the relocation of the formerly small Mariposa coop to a bigger location at 48th & Baltimore and kept going west, to the 4900 block, where Little Baby's Ice Cream and Marvelous records joined the party. Plus there are plans for Babylon Bistro to open on the 5000 block, where a mobile taco, and a cake place have also recently appeared.
All of this retail perhaps points to how Cedar Park is growing as a neighborhood in terms of retail and residential draw. According to a Technical.ly Philly article, Cedar Park saw the highest percentage of rent increase across all neighborhoods in Philly in 2013, according to data compiled by Lovely, a San Francisco-based rental service. And when you consider that plans for a 132-unit mixed-use complex at a now vacant lot across the street from Clark Park at 43rd & Baltimore are apparently moving forward, you can see that it's not just Cedar Park in West Philly that's moving in a positive direction.