There’s a movement brimming that could see Washington Avenue transform from an industrial, tractor trailer-filled corridor to lively commercial strip lined with restaurants, green space and possibly a beer garden.
With developer Bart Blatstein’s plans at Broad and Washington already in the fold, there are a few factors that could see Washington Avenue west of Broad Street take the next step.
We already know that the restriping efforts are well underway at this point with the goal of easing traffic congestion while adding bike lanes and back-in parking. The Inquirer profiled the efforts of Washington Avenue Property Owners Association, a group that has been leading the charge for change, most notably the Blatstein project but also a few others, including the Frankford Chocolate Factory site and “At least a half-dozen developments are under consideration.”
Foobooz recently checked in on the marketing materials for 2118 Washington Ave., which feature a new brick entertainment facility complete with a beer garden and restaurant. As The Inquirer reports that developers Tom and Robert Donatucci look to make that vision a reality to “water cuisine desert and bring young people out at night.”
But that’s not all:
At 1601 Washington Ave., developer Rory Scerri-Marion aims to build a mixed-use residential project. At 18th and Washington, Mario Carosella, owner of C&R Building Supply, envisions a multifamily development. At 2401 Washington Ave., two local developers hope to build more apartments.
Carosella would like “to get a big national retailer down here. It might be the whole block, but if they can put it together, it could really work.”
According to PlanPhilly’s recent interview with Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, there’s a possible project from Toll Bros. planned for the northwest corner of Broad and Washington.
As per The Inquirer, the kicker for a lot of these project will be proper zoning on Washington Avenue in the future:
Rezoning is a major issue for the district, currently designated industrial. The city Planning Commission could recommend that it be designated either an industrial commercial mixed-use zone or an industrial residential mixed-use zone.
You can get involved and help process by contributing to the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s interactive map and/or comment publicly on existing points. As you can see, there are already a lot of points located on the western portion of Washington Avenue, be it for barrier, assets, opportunities or weakness.
So what do you make of all this activity on Washington Avenue: Are we finally seeing the beginning of the transformation?