Brewery Planned for E. Passyunk Ave. Needs Zoning Approval

1324-26 E. Passyunk Ave.

East Passyunk has one of the best and most diverse restaurant scenes in the city of Philadelphia. From Italian, to tacos, to dim sum, to Vietnamese, and of course cheesesteaks, this neighborhood has it all. Interestingly enough, E. Passyunk Avenue lacks one thing that Philadelphia boasts plenty of: a brewery. Walk across Broad St. and you will find Second District Brewing and Brewery ARS, but there are no breweries in East Passyunk. That could be changing in the near future.

In July of 2018, Cartesian Brewing launched a Kickstarter campaign. They ended up raising more than $20,000 to help start their brewery, where they plan on brewing beer made with locally-sourced ingredients. We’ll call it farm to mug.

Although the Kickstarter campaign did not originally mention a location for the brewery, Cartesian has continued to update their pledgors about the status of the project. In April, Cartesian announced that they had secured a lease at 1324-26 E. Passyunk Ave. in South Philly right between the POPE and Geno’s. In their update, the brewery also mentioned that they would need to seek zoning approval in order to open up at the location.

1324-26 E. Passyunk Ave. is a two-story building with two garage doors on the first floor and 4 residential units above. The building was last home to a fitness and dance studio. Although Passyunk Ave. is known as a bustling commercial corridor, this 1-block stretch happens to be zoned Residential Single-Family Attached 5 (RSA-5), which does not allow commercial operations by-right. The owners received approval for multiple residential units on the second floor earlier this year.

Zoning map with 1324-26 E. Passyunk Ave. outlined

Just last week, a zoning application was filed to open a brewery at 1324-26 E. Passyunk Ave. Operations would include the bottling/canning of beer, the distribution of beer, the retail sale of bottled beer and growlers, and a sit-down restaurant. We think this would be a great amenity for the neighborhood. This stretch of E. Passyunk often feels like a dead zone at night. A brewery/restaurant at this location and the patrons it will attract will put more eyes on the street and make the avenue feel more inviting.

There are a few other businesses operating within RSA-5 zoned buildings on this block. So, we see no reason why the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) would deny Cartesian’s appeal. The hearing will take place on August 21st at 2:00 PM at 1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor – Room 18-002. If you live in South Philly and drink beer, we urge you to show your support for the project. There should be a meeting with the Passyunk Square Civic Association (PSCA) before the ZBA hearing, but we cannot find the PSCA meeting date. If anyone knows the date, please share it with us so we can spread the word.

UPDATE: The neighborhood meeting with PSCA will be on August 13th at 7pm at St. Maron’s Hall, 1013 Ellsworth.

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