9th and Washington project developers hope to extend the hours of the Italian Market
In August, plans were presented for a 5-story mixed-use building with 18,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, 70 apartments, 8 single-family trinities and approximately 150 underground parking spaces for a long-vacant lot at 9th and Washington.
Midwood Investment and Development presented plans for the project again for community comment at a Passyunk Square Civic Association zoning meeting this month. At this meeting, the neighborhood expressed overall approval towards the project.
More from the Philadelphia Free Press on the retail space for the development:
John Usdan, President of Midwood Investment & Development explained, “We imagine restaurants and more food purveyors of a high quality. Hopefully,” Usdan said, “this project will extend the hours of the market and the shopping day. Its uses will be consistent with the market. It could have up to twenty tenants. We designed it so the retail space,” Usdan continued “will be shallow with a lot frontage. A typical store could be 1,500 to 1,700 square feet.”
Michelle Gambino, Business Manager of the South 9th Street Italian Market Business Association asked Usdan for a guarantee that Midwood won’t rent any of the retail spaces to chains, which would disrupt the independent character of the market.
“It is not our intent to put in chain stores,” Usdan said. “We don’t think it’s in the character of the neighborhood. And we don’t think those types of stores would necessarily do well in the neighborhood.”
One of the community’s main concerns was regarding the traffic flow of 9th Street because of the below-grade parking lot’s entrance there. This location was chosen for the parking garage entrance due to the high traffic along Washington Avenue, along with being a location that would least disrupt the amounts of retail space planned along Washington. The community asked for a traffic study to be completed.
More on the community’s reaction to the parking garage:
Several residents criticized Midwood’s decision to place the parking garage on 9th Street as opposed to Washington Ave.
“It will create gridlock on Washington and other streets,” one resident said. “There’s already gridlock on Washington Avenue and 8th Street today. What happens to the Italian Market and Mexican Festival?” that resident wondered. “How are all of those cars going to get out?”
For this project to move forward, the lot needs to be rezoned to allow for the five-stories planned for the development. In October, the Planning Commission voted to recommend the rezoning of the lot from CMX-2 to CMX-3. Without a fifth floor, the project will not move forward. You can read more about plans for the project here.