11th and Market today. Image from Google.
Girard Square, currently a massive eyesore, could become Philly’s newest and blingiest commercial district by the end of 2012. This huge 4.4 acre lot of land, encompassing an entire city block (Market to Chestnut, 11th to 12th) is currently made up of 4 buildings of offices, parking, and a mish mash of low-end retail stores. This could all change, if the plans to demolish the 2-story building that fronts Market Street
get approved; this would be one of Center City’s most prominent redevelopments in recent years. Girard Square would be rebuilt as a 5-story retail destination with lots of windows, new retailers including a discount department store, a larger parking garage, and loads of fancy light-up billboards.
A look at the possible future
Speaking of billboards - last month, City Council passed a bill to create a “Commercial Advertising District,” which essentially gives any developer in the district (Market Street between 7th and 13th) permission to install a lighted or wrap billboard on their non-vacant building, as long as they spend over $10 million to spruce up the building. The hope is to revitalize and bring positive energy to the neighborhood, particularly in the evenings when the corridor is all but empty, by drawing in more businesses and people.
We’ve heard that the discount department store could be a 3-story Target. A reader has tipped us off that it could be a CityTarget concept much like those in Seattle, LA, NYC and Chicago, which are smaller than a typical Target, containing select inventory that caters towards urban residents. What other retailers do you see going into this new Girard Square redevelopment? Whichever retailers eventually lease space there, a new Girard Square would be huge for Market East.