Posted on 09 December 2013
Another holiday season has come to 52nd Street and efforts are continuing to help the teeming commercial strip regain its reputation as “West Philly’s Main Street.”
52nd Street Station after renovation.
Over the past five years, the Enterprise Center’s Community Development Corporation (TEC-CDC) has invested in the renewal of 52nd Street, a once busy commercial corridor hit hard by the 10-year Market-Frankford EL reconstruction project. Providing guidance and support, the neighborhood initiative group has worked to spur economic growth in the area, hoping to bring back its vitality.
As part of those efforts, TEC-CDC recently hired Akeem Dixon as the retail gateway’s first-ever Commercial Corridor Manager, made possible by support from the Philadelphia Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC). In his role, Dixon will primarily oversee a cleaning contract managed by the center, funded in part by the Philadelphia Department of Commerce, aimed to “help make 52nd Street the best it can be,” said Bryan Fenstermacher, TEC-CDC’s senior director of programming.
52nd Street Station before the 2007-2008 reconstruction project / Photos: Wikipedia.
“Our [work] is to make 52nd Street the most attractive and vibrant corridor that it can be,” Fenstermacher told West Philly Local. “52nd Street is really the livelihood of West Philadelphia … A number of people grew up here on the corridor and remember what it used to be like. There’s no reason it can’t come back.”
Hiring a portal manager is a major development not only for the corridor, but for the local University of Pennsylvania-affiliated organization, which has a hand in its planning and economic growth. According to Fenstermacher, the new manager will also serve as a soundboard for the “wants and needs” of the area, helping TEC-CDC leverage the requests of 52nd Street’s businesses and residents. Dixon will, in effect, act as a liaison for those partners involved in the corridor—be they local community associations or business owners and street vendors—so there’s full engagement among everyone who has a stake in 52nd Street’s success.
“What we would like to see is the businesses and vendors come together to support somebody that’s full-time on there as a sustainable practice,” said Fenstermacher. “We’re there to support the stakeholders and the corridor, so I see us being there long-term.”
Posted on 07 December 2013
The Supreme Shop ‘n Bag at 43rd and Walnut streets will be closed until tomorrow morning because of technical problems.
A worker there said the grocery store is experiencing issues with its computer system and plans to reopen at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
Posted on 04 December 2013
As always, we here at West Philly Local aim to keep neighbors abreast of community news and inform you of updates to that news. For today’s installment of updates, we’ve rounded up news about three big projects we’ve featured in the last three months that verge from the exciting (tacos!) to the conflicting (another expensive development!). And, of course, if there are other updates you’d love to know, we’d love to hear them in the comments.
Groundbreaking for Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral’s $110 Million Development
Photo by West Philly Local.
Tomorrow, Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral and Radnor Property Group (RPG) will hold a groundbreaking for 38Chestnut—the $110 million mixed-used development at 38th and Chestnut Streets that will see the razing of two historic brownstones (pictured) formerly used as the Cathedral’s parish house. The demolition will make way for a three-prong 326,000 square-foot project (owned by 3737 Chestnut, LP and developed by RPG) to be completed in 2015, and will include the construction of an allegedly “state-of-the-art” 25-story apartment building targeting professionals and grad students, as well as the Episcopal Cathedral Center that features a three-story office building with ground floor retail, a community center, and an early-learning childcare center. Additionally, as part of a settlement with the Preservation Alliance, the development will also see the renovation and maintenance of the cathedral itself. The groundbreaking starts at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral, located at 13-19 South 38th Street.
As we reported in November, the demolition to the two 19th-century brownstones has been nothing but contentious since it made news last summer. In an 8-2 vote, the Philadelphia Historical Commission approved the Cathedral’s hardship application to bulldoze the two historically-sanctioned houses, which were on the list of Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. The Preservation Alliance appealed this decision almost immediately, but came to an agreement with the Commission in March, in which a 50-year preservation and restoration plan is implemented and maintained by the Cathedral, with project funds set aside for immediate work on the house of worship. Continue Reading
Posted on 03 December 2013
The holiday season is here and many of you have already started looking for gifts and making holiday plans. According to national statistics, every $1 we spend at a local business, 65 cents is invested back into the local community. That’s roughly twice as much as big box stores. No big surprise there. Small businesses hook their success up to the success of the local community. Often they are our neighbors and friends.
At West Philly Local we are committed to helping local businesses and organizations succeed. We are also committed to telling residents about the community businesses that help make this a great place to live, work and shop. Please check out our annual “Shop Local for the Holidays” campaign page to see what our partners – local shops, restaurants, arts, fitness and other organizations – have to offer this holiday season.
Posted on 27 November 2013
If you are spending Thanksgiving Day in the neighborhood, here’s the hours for assorted local stores, cafes and restaurants. And here’s our story on what to do and where to stay in West Philly for the holidays in case you missed it.
Aksum (4630 Baltimore Ave) – Thursday: Closed; Friday: Open for dinner.
Cafe Renata (4305 Locust St) – Wednesday: 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Thursday: Closed; Friday, Saturday & Sunday: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. By the way, Cafe Renata will be serving complimentary mimosas with brunch on Black Friday and begin offering seasonal specials like: pumpkin french toast, cranberry chutney turkey club sandwiches and roasted butternut squash soups.
Earth Cup Coffee (45th & Pine) – Thursday: 7 a.m. – noon.
Green Line Cafe (all locations) – Wednesday: Close at 5 p.m.; Thursday & Friday: Closed.
Mariposa Food Co-op (4824 Baltimore Ave) – Wednesday: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Thursday: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Milk & Honey Market (4435 Baltimore Ave) – Thursday: Closed; Friday: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Supreme Shop n Bag (43rd & Walnut) – Wednesday: 7 a.m. – 12 a.m.; Thursday: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
The Fresh Grocer (4001 Walnut St) - Thursday-Sunday: Open 24 hours.
VIX Emporium (5009 Baltimore Ave) – Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Thursday: Closed; Friday & Saturday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Posted on 07 November 2013
Chowing down on a slice of pizza while downing gulps of beer—seems like the perfect match for a college bar. At least, that’s the thought behind the Smokey Joe’s and Pitruco Pizza partnership that launched three weeks ago.
A few weeks ago Nathan Winkler-Rhodes and Jonah Fliegelman—the boys behind the sought-after Pitruco Pizza food truck—began running Smokey Joe’s kitchen, serving their signature fare as Enjay’s Pizza (a play on their names, said Smokey Joe’s owner Paul Ryan). With Rhodes and Fliegelman at the helm, Smokey’s, located at 210 S. 40th Street will now offer a revamped menu with pizza as the star and offered in seven small or large varieties including spicy, sausage and pepper, and tomato—plays (but not direct copies) off their Pitruco menu. Chicken cutlet, meatball and fried cauliflower hoagies are also on the list of options, in addition to salads, Italian vegetable plates, and pub starters like garlic knots and artisan fries.
Ryan was looking to serve pizza and turned to Pitruco after checking out foodie reviews. In turn, he said, the duo was looking to set up a brick-and-mortar shop for their highly rated truck, so they were on board when approached by Ryan. And so far, says the owner, the partnership is “terrific.”
“The reviews of the food have been great,” Ryan told West Philly Local. “I think it’s a great match for a college bar.”
Smokey Joe’s has long sublet its kitchen to budding culinary entrepreneurs looking for a built in audience and good location without the overhead of their own space.
Fliegelman and Winkler-Rhodes will run Smokey Joe’s kitchen from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Currently, takeout is only available.