For more than 15 years, the south side of Girard Ave. between 10th and 11th streets has been occupied by outdoor tennis courts and an indoor tennis facility. However, the Althea Gibson Community Education & Tennis Center has been closed since 2014 when a developer purchased the property for $1.55 million.
In 2017, the owners submitted a zoning application to build a gas station and food retail establishment on the site. At that time, people speculated that the site would be a Wawa gas station and market. Although we enjoy an occasional visit to Wawa, we were not thrilled about a gas station being built on a commercial thoroughfare in a growing neighborhood, four blocks from the subway.
Thankfully, the developer changed their plans and is pursuing the construction of a 6-story building with 120 residential units, 6 retail spaces, and 54 underground parking spaces. The West Poplar neighbors gave the project a vote of support in February. The development then got the go-ahead from the Civic Design Review on April 2nd. On April 17th, final zoning approval with a few small changes was granted for the project. We did notice that the parking spot count went from 44 in the CDR presentation to 54 in the most recent zoning application. We are not sure what caused this change.
This project will be built on the area that the outdoor tennis courts stand. The one-story building will be preserved for now. We are extremely supportive of this project and appreciate the density that the developers are bringing to this CMX-2.5 zoned lot. We do think that 54 parking spaces is a bit much in a location so close to the Broad Street Line and the trolley, but we will take this any day over a gas station.
Even with the development taking a major turn, it looks like Wawa may still be on board as illustrated in the project renderings. We have heard no official announcement from the development team or Wawa, but developers usually do not include real store names in their renderings if some kind of deal is not in the works. If you look closely at the rendering, you will also see Crown Fried Chicken, Kicks USA, and what appears to be a Chipotle sign. We cannot decipher one of the names in the rendering.
We haven’t seen any new construction permits pulled for this project or heard any rumors about a ground-breaking date, but we are hopeful it moves forward soon. This development should spark more energy into this historically neglected yet growing stretch of Girard Avenue. How do you feel about the development?
Kyle is a commercial real estate agent at Rittenhouse Realty Advisors, a homeowner, and a real estate investor in Philadelphia. Kyle uses his extensive Philadelphia real estate market knowledge to help his clients buy and sell multifamily investment properties, development opportunities, and industrial sites.
Email Kyle@RittenhouseRealty.com if you are looking to buy or sell a property