Powerbroker U.S. Rep. Bob Brady has agreed to help make the Philadelphia Arts Market, which we told you in September had been proposed for Broad and Washington, to become a reality.
For a little background, Elisabeth Garson, a South Philly-based freelance creative director who is spearheading the initiative, said the open-air market would operate from March to September on weekends with dozens of craft makers, a farmers market and flea market vendors, plus food trucks and a stage for area student and musical performances.
Her first choice is the lot on northeast corner of Broad and Washington, owned by New York-based Hudson Capital, but that is a long shot as Hudson has sat on it for several years. Second choice is the northwest corner, which is made up of two lots, one owned by the U.S. government and the other controlled by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation.
Enter Bob Brady, whom Garson enlisted.
“She’s got a good project and a good heart, and I told her I’d do what I can to help her,” Brady told us. He put Garson in touch with Paul Deegan of PIDC. ”They met,” Brady said. “I heard it was a good meeting.”
The northwest corner currently provides parking for the Rock School of Dance and houses a former train shed being used as a food distribution center (check this Philaphilia post for some interesting history about these lots, including the fact that the train shed was where Abraham Lincoln’s body stopped on the Philly leg of his funeral tour).
Brady said he’s supposed to get together with Garson next week. ”It’s a good idea, and it’s a great place to put it,” he said. “You should put it where there’s an eyesore, and that’s been that way for a long, long time.”
When asked if he thought any public money would be available for the project, he said, “You don’t know till you try.”
“I’ve been told many times when you needed money that there isn’t any, and then you end up getting lucky and somehow you find money,” he said, while stressing that it’s way too early to think about public financing. First, you need a location.
Garson cautioned that the market could still be a long way off. ”It’s a long-going battle,” she said, “but I’m in it for the long haul.”