In the past few years, Girard Avenue east of Front Street has experienced the fruits of entrepreneurs and developers who envision the area as a good spot for business. Perhaps it was anchored by the construction of the Piazza, or maybe it’s just the natural extension of Northern Liberties development bursting from its britches. That being said, development sometimes takes time. And in the case of the vacant property at Girard Ave. and Shackamaxon St. we’ve been waiting over five years.
In 2007, owners of the lot situated at 114-120 E Girard Ave. (or 1140-44 Shackamaxon St.) received overwhelming community support from Fishtown Neighbors Association for their project which depicted a three-story mixed-use development with a ground-floor commercial space occupied by Palm Tree Market, two residential units above, and underground parking. At the time, the site featured a vacant overgrown lot and presented a water issue with the adjoining structure due to a weakness in the party wall.
Old rendering, from FuSA
Another old rendering
But nothing ever happened. The site has since remained vacant, according to Matt Harp of FNA. Harp said FNA recently approved a new version of that 2007 project. This new project comes from a new architect and developer, and now includes five apartments and eliminates the basement parking plan. Construction recently began on the site. No official date has been announced for a completion, nor will we necessarily believe that Palm Tree Market will still take the space til we see it. The plans do show a fit out for a deli and grocery on the first floor, however.
Kind of liked the old one better
We suppose it’s possible that folks could be enjoying a fresh Palm Tree (or some other type of) sandwich, in a new sit-down location, by this winter. Perhaps they’ll have success, as Johnny Brendas is located directly across Girard Avenue and patrons might notice the deli and note they ought to return. But no matter how you, uh, slice it, neighbors will surely be pleased to see an amenity replace a long vacant lot.