Would a Community Space work on Lancaster Avenue?

A group of people who want to turn a vacant space at 3848 Lancaster Ave. into The Keystone Center, a community space for various events like concerts, craft fairs, flea markets and more, hosted Lanxgiving a couple of months ago at the warehouse to show the building's owner their idea for the space can work.

Four bands, including international act Pattern is Movement played at the event, which also included food from Poi Dog and Ranch Road Tacos. Rentals in the neighborhood around this section of Lancaster Avenue generally have lower rent numbers than in other areas, which is attracting artists and activists much like Baltimore Avenue did before its commercial explosion.

Future Keystone Center?

The space is one of many units considered part of 3848-56 Lancaster Ave., which is a strip of brick buildings, some of which feature arched windows with woodwork painted in pastel colors. This summer, we noticed the space was for rent as we chronicled the redevelopment of the 38th & Lancaster intersection, which in six months last summer transformed from blighted into home to various improvements and new residential units built as part of two separate projects.

From further back. Note the Monarch Storage building in the background.

The question here is whether the community space would be a viable tenant. Based on various happenings along Lancaster Ave. we think it could be. It would be great to see community members get a space right here on the heart of a burgeoning Lancaster Ave. block where they could serve as positive spot for bringing together local talent. And it's located right across the street from where People's Emergency Center plans to redevelop Hawthorne Hall into an entertainment space.

One thing is for certain, with the continued building of residential towers nearby, like Drexel's plan for a 24-story tower at 34th & Lancaster, which broke ground in November, and new Science Center buildings being constructed a few blocks away at 3737 Market, there will be plenty of artists and community residents in need for quality public spaces like The Keystone Center. One just hopes that all the new development doesn’t force up rents to the point that the artists need to find somewhere else to go.