Despite its eye-popping Art Deco exterior, the insides of Suburban Station are not exactly destination-worthy. The below-grade concourse, though lined with some retail shops and food vendors, is dark and dank, mostly serving as a thoroughfare for passengers trying to catch the next subway, trolley, or train. Shopping destination it is not.
But that’s about to change in the next few months, with a new master plan in the works to transform the station’s concourse into the next retail and restaurant transportation hub, the Inquirer reports.
“Suburban Station is the front door to Philadelphia for 100,000 citizens daily,” Jacqueline Buhn, principal and CEO of Athenian Razak, told Curbed Philly. “We are working with SEPTA and the City to make it the attractive and vibrant welcome the city deserves.”
In July 2016, local real estate company Athenian Razak was brought on by SEPTA to be the master leasing agent for Suburban Station’s retail space. The developer has since been tasked with weighing new design and retail opportunities for the 40,000 square feet of retail space owned by SEPTA. Currently, there are 24 shops with tenants that include Verizon and Dunkin’ Donuts, among others.
Look for the first signs of change during the first week of November, when new tenant Tiffany’s Bakery opens among along the 16th and 17th Street stretches of the concourse.
Meanwhile, current tenants will also be upgrading their spaces and more new tenants will be announced throughout the ongoing overhaul. The first phase of major improvements—new and upgraded tenants, improved lighting, signage, etc.—will debut in early 2018.
The hope, Buhn said, is to make the space that much more enjoyable for not only the nearby office workers—there’s 10 million square feet of office space that directly access the concourse—but also the thousands of travelers who pass through here. We’ll take anything that helps make a commute more tolerable.